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Mantua Middle School Students Try Sports, Playwriting in Summer Program
Theater Program Director Nick Anselmo instructs students in playwriting, as part of the Mantua in Action summer program.
Mantua in Action, a new summer program serving 178 Mantua middle school students, launched on June 25 and will continue through August 10. The 7-week program brings together sports and enrichment opportunities to help students develop athletic skills and academic abilities, benefit from peer and adult role models, and demonstrate greater competence and hope for the future.
During the program’s first week, students had the opportunity to try a range of different activities to determine which would be their focus for the duration of the summer program. Students are now participating for 10-25 hours each week for the next six weeks in the activity of their choice, in addition to attending health and nutrition workshops.
Students chose from the following sports:
Tennis (sponsored by Legacy Youth Tennis)
Fencing and Lacrosse (sponsored by Black Women in Sport Foundation)
Squash (sponsored by SquashSmarts)
Wrestling (sponsored by Beat the Streets)
Long-Distance Running (sponsored by Students Run Philly Style)
Students also could choose to participate in an intensive playwriting program taught by Nick Anselmo, theater program director in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.
The program also has a workforce development component. Seventeen young adults from Mantua are receiving coaching training, supervision and support from Drexel’s Sport Management Program in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, working as junior coaches for the summer program. The junior coaches will receive professional training in sports education and will get a basic coaching certification at the end of their training.
Mantua in Action is a broad partnership between Drexel University, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative (PYSC), the We Are Mantua community planning effort, the DB4 youth task force and the Mantua Community Improvement Committee (MCIC). It is being coordinated by CustomED.
“It is truly inspiring to see such a broad set of partners come together to provide high-quality, challenging youth programming for middle school students in the Mantua community,” said Rusty McCarty, president and CEO of CustomED. “The work being done by each of the partners is the truest definition of teamwork and dedication.”
The summer program is part of the We Are Mantua
community planning effort. Mantua in Action
will serve as the basis for an after-school program, which the partners hope to launch in September. This pilot program aims to begin transforming educational outcomes for Mantua youth.
Drexel, a key partner in a major initiative to support Mantua, is committed to providing opportunities for Mantua’s youth, including a comprehensive system of programming during key transition points, such as early childhood education and middle school transitions.