In his new purpose, former Muhlenberg position guard Toomey Anderson ’03 is increasing entry to athletics for the 17,000 students in the Allentown Faculty District.
Monday, November 14, 2022 08:37 AM
Toomey Anderson ’03. Shots by Marco Calderon
For the initially time this fall, the youngest students in the Allentown University District will be ready to participate in right after-college sports activities devoid of obtaining to depart their educational institutions. 50 percent of the 14 elementary universities in the district are offering tennis and soccer, the other half, flag soccer and … mixed martial arts (MMA).
“They’re not going to be in call with every other,” suggests Toomey Anderson ’03, the district’s 1st coordinator of athletics and actions K-12. “The method, the schooling, the fundamentals of understanding how to box and kickbox — people forms of issues will be carried out.”
1 of the reasons Allentown is incorporating sports activities for young learners is to feed the center and significant school athletic applications, and wrestling, which is section of MMA, is a sport the district wants to establish. Another reason is to make the district’s elementary and middle faculties into community hubs that supply just after-faculty enrichment activities (sports, arts, tutoring) in a safe and sound, supervised ecosystem right until mothers and fathers can choose up their children. Another is to make improvements to attendance by giving youngsters some thing to search ahead to immediately after a day in the classroom. But the primary reason is simply because making an attempt out a selection of functions is just fantastic for children.
“When you are young, your physique is nevertheless developing and your mind’s nonetheless expanding and developing. Until finally you are exposed to as several distinctive factors as probable, you really do not know what your true expertise is,” states Anderson, who was a scholar-athlete and political science main at Muhlenberg. “I played a wide range of sports activities at that age. Whatever activity was on Tv that day, [my friends and I] were being outside hoping to play it.”
Anderson in the long run specialised in basketball, which he played at nearby Parkland Large School. His initial take a look at to campus was with his higher faculty coach, to check out the Scotty Wood Tournament. Muhlenberg’s head basketball mentor at the time, Dave Madeira, recruited Anderson to enjoy for the Mules. He was on the crew from 1999 to 2003, serving to the Mules to 3 straight Centennial Convention playoff berths. A place guard, he scored approximately 800 vocation points and gained All-Centennial honorable mention as a senior. (Anderson also performed a solitary time of football at Muhlenberg that calendar year: “I scored a landing, so it counts,” he jokes.)
After graduating, he taught algebra to Philadelphia college students who’d been removed from the public college method for a couple of yrs in advance of using a task with the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Device as an psychological assist interventionist. Through that time, he also coached basketball: in Quakertown, at Allentown Central Catholic and on the Newbie Athletic Union (AAU) circuit. In 2010, he started managing the significant regional basketball event, the A-Town Throwdown, that was part of Lehigh Valley SportsFest in Allentown’s Cedar Beach front Park.
In 2017, Anderson was recruited to join Allentown’s Govt Instruction Charter University — the CEO there had labored with Anderson in Philadelphia. Anderson served as Executive’s profession and higher education advisor, as perfectly as its assistant athletic director. He designed up the school’s athletics teams, and its boys’ basketball workforce would earn a few District 11 championships though he was there.
Also in 2017, the founder of Lehigh Valley SportsFest resolved to retire. It was not distinct whether the party would continue. Anderson stepped in: “I had visions of doing anything more than just sports,” he suggests. “I have a topic: Everything I do is identified as ‘awesome.’”
In the earlier, he’s run a “Camp Awesome” to expose K-5 learners from the Lehigh Valley’s cities and suburbs to a wide variety of actions and to a person one more. He needed to change Lehigh Valley SportsFest into Lehigh Valley Wonderful! Fest, which debuted in 2018. This year’s celebration had the A-Town Throwdown as its centerpiece but also integrated art displays, songs and comedy performances and a variety of food items vendors serving cuisines from about the entire world.
“It’s a celebration of arts, athletics, society and enjoyment,” Anderson suggests. “Allentown’s a melting pot. I desired to find a way to celebrate all the diverse areas we have, drawing people today and teams from all more than the area.”
Anderson commenced his job with the Allentown Faculty District this February, and he’s accomplishing much extra than growing athletics and routines. This summer season, he aided orchestrate the district’s Summer season Scholars method, which was launched to fight COVID-connected finding out decline. Collaborating learners invested their mornings performing on teachers and the afternoons striving out unique pursuits, which include sporting activities (like soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball and track), yoga and mindfulness, art and songs. He’s encouraging the district start six-week understand-to-swim systems for college students, which will address a significant protection difficulty and ideally have the bonus impact of developing a additional trusted summertime lifeguard pipeline for the metropolis. Anderson is also surveying mother and father to manual an enlargement of adaptive sporting activities for students with disabilities in the district.
Though the district gained state and federal funding to launch new programming, supplemental resources are wanted to remove participation barriers (such as excellent equipment and appropriate attire) for some college students. The best target, Anderson says, is for Allentown college students to have equitable ordeals to students from wealthier suburban districts. Yet another problem is finding adequate employees to operate these applications, but the assist so much has currently been huge.
“The natural beauty of our district is there are so quite a few persons who truly treatment about these pupils,” Anderson states. “We have fantastic help during the district and all through our group, people who want to get involved and support out the college students.”