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Angeles County | Community News File / Downtown

Ray Charles Donates $25,000 to Police Program

January 08, 1998

Entertainer Ray Charles, no stranger to the difficulties of life, on Wednesday gave the Los Angeles Police Department $25,000 for its youth mentoring program.

"It's a simple thing and I have to be very plain with you," Charles, 64, said at a City Hall ceremony.

"You see, the world has given me a lot, man," said Charles, who is blind. "I'd just like to give [something back], especially to the youth--if I could do anything that would be helpful to bring them up in a strong way and a correct way."

The Mid-City resident gave five $5,000 checks to Police Chief Bernard C. Parks for the department's Explorer Post program, in which teenagers work with officers, perform minor tasks at police stations and go on outings.

The money is for the posts at the Southwest, 77th Street, Wilshire, Newton and Pacific divisions, all of which are in Councilman Nate Holden's district. Holden helped arrange the donation after Charles contacted him. Parks suggested that the money go to the Explorer program.

Each post is responsible for raising money to pay for uniforms, equipment and activities such as camping trips and outings to the zoo.

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