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Female officers empower young girls at JaxPAL Slumber Party

JaxPAL hosts 2nd annual DNA Unique All-Girl Overnight Slumber Party

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Police Athletic League of Jacksonville, also know as JaxPAL, held its second annual all-girl slumber party Friday night.

The DNA Unique All-Girl Overnight Slumber Party brought together 200 girls, in grades five through nine, and female law enforcement officers at the JaxPAL Monument Center for the fun event.

"What's going on today? Can't you see we're having a party for girls," JaxPAL executive director Lt. Lakesha Burton said. "It's called DNA Unique. It's just an opportunity for women in law enforcement, particularly at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, to come back and pour into young girl’s lives. We're here to make sure they understand how unique they are."

JaxPAL created the DNA Unique slumber party in response to girls and young women across the country becoming increasingly involved in criminal, illicit and illegals acts.

"Research says that 99.9 percent of girls, of all of us, have the same DNA except for 0.1 percent that makes us all different," Burton said. "Tonight we're going to chime in on that uniqueness and every girl will leave here knowing and understanding how unique they are."

The event brought together female law enforcement officers and young girls for a night filled with education, inspiration and celebration. DNA stands for girls Dreaming big, Navigating through life's challenges and Achieving their ambitions, which was the goal of the event.

Burton said they expected 200 girls and 85 adult volunteers to attend for the second year of the event.

"It started last year just from a conversation with a fifth-grader. We were talking about self-esteem," Burton said. "She shared how low her self-esteem was and I said, 'Well what can we do for girls?' She said, 'Look we want to have a slumber party' and that's what we did. It was such a success last year. Girls left so empowered and so we decided to do it again this year."

Burton said the event is a great opportunity to give back.

"(As) women, we deal with a lot of these issues that these young girls are dealing with now and we're able to just give back," Burton said.