Local doctor credits her success to Philadelphia's Police Athletic League

BRYN MAWR, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Dr. Najah Waters is an incredible success story out of East Mt. Airy and speaks to the power of mentorship through the Police Athletic League.

The rehabilitation physician at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation in Malvern graduated with honors from Harvard University. She went to medical school at Georgetown University and got her master's from Johns Hopkins University.

She said she wouldn't be where she is if it weren't for Philadelphia's Police Athletic League.

"The Police Athletic League was a wonderful experience for me as a kid growing up. I was an only child, so I had friends at school and everything, but I was really able to become a part of a community there," said Waters.

Waters joined PAL when she was a fifth-grader at Masterman School.

She says PAL opened her eyes to a whole new world. She will never forget meeting then-Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

"It's amazing because they're giving you bits of advice, and they're down to earth with you," added Waters.

During her time at PAL, Lieutenant Eric Ervin became her mentor.

"People always say, 'How do you measure wealth?' This is how you measure wealth, you know, helping young kids achieving their dreams and living a life that they love," Ervin said.

The two still have a close relationship. Waters consulted him on her choice between NYU and Harvard.

In college, Waters became a mentor to other PAL kids. But her mentor shares what the key to her success was.

Ervin says she was always detail-oriented.

The Goldey Paley PAL Center, where Waters spent her youth, continues to help guide young people with their dreams.

On Thursday, the Police Athletic League will hold its distinguished PAL Award Gala virtually. The mission is to raise funds to build relationships and support success stories like Waters.

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