Sweeny is honored to take the position.
“I look forward to continuing to strengthen the quality of PAL’s programs, focus efforts on serving the youth of New York City in the most needed areas and establish initiatives that position the PAL for growth,” she said.
She served as acting executive director since June 2011 before being appointed president by PAL's Board of Directors.
Throughout her career, Sweeny has been dedicated to working either directly with children and youth facing challenges including poverty or special needs, or supporting them through policy, partnerships, funding and by building infrastructure.
Trained in elementary education, as an early childhood educator, special educator and school administrator, she has worked directly with young children and their families, developing model local programs and influencing state and national policy and initiatives.
For 10 years, Sweeny served on the cabinet of Governor George Pataki as executive director of the New York State Council on Children and Families, where she was charged to work directly with the Commissioners of the State’s 13 education, health and human services agencies to coordinate their policies, priorities, regulations and budgets as they related to children and families.
And through her work as chair of the Task Force on Out of Wedlock Pregnancy and Poverty, New York State won a $25 million federal award.
Always interested in bettering the lives of children, Sweeny also served as an adviser to two governors on juvenile justice issues and funding. She was a member of the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, a member of the Megan’s Law Task Force, and brought together community groups, law enforcement, churches and community agencies together to identify collaborative strategies to reduce youth crime in areas of high poverty.
She has been the recipient of numerous community leadership awards including the Woman of Distinction Award by the NYS Senate.
“We are truly privileged to have Alana Sweeny accept the position of PAL Executive Director,” said Robert Morgenthau, chairman of PAL. Calling her one of the most respected leaders in child care and youth services, he is certain that she will move PAL in a good direction. PAL serves over 50,000 boys and girls each year at 16 full-time PAL centers and 11 part-time centers throughout the five boroughs.