Giant’s Toomer & HealthPlus Fund Playgrounds

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Giants wide-receiver Amani Toomer and officials from Health Plus, the managed care organization, cut a ceremonial ribbon recently, opening a new playground at P.S. 169 in Sunset Park. It follows the opening last month of a playground at P.S. 75 in the South Bronx.
The new playgrounds were funded by The Amani Toomer Foundation's Toomer Urban Recreation Fund ("TURF"), with major backing from Health Plus.  "I started the foundation because I feel like a lot of kids are out there without constructive programs and activities to keep them heading in the right direction," said Toomer.   "Playgrounds and after-school programs supported by the Foundation will bridge the time gap between school and dinnertime and hopefully prevent kids from spending large amounts of time unsupervised."  Toomer is a nine-year veteran of the New York Giants and a record-holding wide-receiver. He was named 2003 Giants Man of the Year in recognition of his services to the team and his dedication to programs in the New York City community.
The Toomer Foundation will support after-school activities at the new playgrounds and an essay and artwork contest entitled "Thinking Outside the Lunch Box" to inspire students to use their after-school time productively. The Foundation's initiative, designed to build safe, functional and fun playgrounds, supports the Department of Education's and the Fund's efforts to promote the fitness, health, and physical development of the city's public school children,  both during and after the school day.
"Health Plus strives to support the nurturing and development of our children throughout the city, particularly in underserved areas," said Tom Early, Executive Director of Health Plus. "We have a long history of working with the schools and with TURF.  Health Plus is always happy to have chance to help keep our children healthy and happy." The playgrounds will be used for lunchtime recess, physical education classes during school, and for after-school programs conducted by schools as well as by local community groups. Additionally, The Amani Toomer Foundation will support the development of after-school activities that involve the use of these playgrounds. 
As part of the opening of the playgrounds, all students at P.S. 75 and P.S. 169 will be given the opportunity to participate in the Foundation's "Thinking Outside the Lunch Box" contest.  Through this program, students will be encouraged to use their creativity in developing artwork or writing that reflects how they can spend their after-school time on productive activities. The Amani Toomer Foundation was founded in 2001 by Toomer and Dr. Yola Dabrowski.

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