Youth Programs

Inspiring our youth.


The G.R.E.A.T. program helps youth avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship with law enforcement, PAL’s mission.  This is accomplished by using a skills-based approach that addresses three domains of learning – cognitive, behavioral, and affective. The G.R.E.A.T. program produces attitude and behavioral changes through a unique combination of skills training, cooperative learning, discussion, and role playing.  Students are provided with many ​opportunities to model and practice relevant life skills.  Once students have rehearsed these skills, they will be more likely to use them in real-life situations. Each student is asked to prepare a “giving back to the community project,” execute their project, and report back at a school assembly. Officers have become mentors, guides, and friends to the students at each school.

Juvenile Diversion

Diversion is an alternative program for juvenile offenders.  The goal is to divert each selected offender from further criminal behavior.  A juvenile detective oversees this program with the assistance of PAL staff, a county probation officer and a case worker from YSB. 

  • Reduction of youth-related crime
  • Reduction of youth drop-out and/or truancy rate
  • Prevention of juvenile justice-involved youth runaways
  • Reduction of behaviors which may eventually lead to school suspension and expulsion
  • Reduce negative family dynamic situations
Police Activities League (PAL) 
The San Mateo Police Activities League (SMPAL) was formed in 1997 and became a 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization with a mission to provide a variety of supervised recreational, social and educational activities that successfully link police officers with San Mateo youth and the broader community.  The program management is a joint collaboration between the San Mateo Police Department and the San Mateo Parks and Recreation Department that focuses on the prevention of juvenile delinquency and crime by creating meaningful, positive experiences between police officers and youth. Those interested in applying may download and complete the PAL membership registration form

Police Explorers

The San Mateo Police Department’s Police Explorer Program is designed for individuals aged 14 to 20 interested in a law enforcement career. Police Explorers receive training and hands-on experience in various aspects of law enforcement, leadership, physical fitness, life skills, and community service. Explorers meet twice a month on Mondays from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Police Headquarters.We accept applications on a continuous basis and placements are made as openings become available. For more information, click the link above. Those interested in applying may complete an interest form

Volunteer With The City of San Mateo

Volunteering means meeting new people, learning new skills, gaining service credits, securing employment references, learning more about city government, and finding personal satisfaction - all while making a difference within the community. Explore available volunteer opportunities here.