May 1, 2003
East Rutherford, N.J. - Amani Toomer, the Giants record-setting wide receiver, will tonight receive one of the inaugural Hometown Heroes Awards, presented by the United Way Of New York City.
""My main interest is helping out kids. They're at an age where they can go the right way or the wrong way. I try to get them on the right path through athletics or anything else that gets kids off the streets."
- WR Amani ToomerToomer, who will be feted with Dave Szott of the Jets, is being honored for his work with the Amani Toomer Foundation, which he created to contribute to after-school programs. They will receive their awards at a dinner at the Sheraton New York Hotel.
"I'm definitely excited about it," Toomer said. "I started the foundation about three years ago. I haven't done as much as I wanted to do with it, but I've donated money and spoken to kids when I had the opportunity."
Toomer works out at Romain's Kung Fu Academy in Nyack, N.Y. He donated money so students from the school could compete in a tournament in Austria. "I gave them money, because a lot of their parents couldn't afford to fly them over," Toomer said. He also works out with the students as often as possible.
"My main interest is helping out kids," Toomer said. "They're at an age where they can go the right way or the wrong way. I try to get them on the right path through athletics or anything else that gets kids off the streets.
"I go visit the kids, or sometimes I work out with them in the summer. Sometimes when you see someone on TV, you don't really see them as real. So if I go there and show them I'm a real person, maybe they'll come out of the situation saying, `Why can't it be me, Why can't I do something successfully?' Maybe it won't be football, but it's something they can pride themselves on."
Toomer rented a theater and sent a group of kids to see the movie, Jimmy Neutron. He enjoys speaking to youth groups at schools, camps or at less formal settings.
"I want to do more of it," he said. "I think someone in my position can have a positive influence on kids. And I need to work on my public speaking."
Former Giant Howard Cross, as well as current Giants Tim Carter, Nick Greisen, Dhani Jones, Delvin Joyce, Lance Legree, Wesly Mallard, Quincy Monk and Jesse Palmer are expected to attend the dinner.
The partnership between United Way and the NFL, which began in 1974, remains the longest-running sports/charity relationship of its kind. The NFL furnishes the airtime at no cost to United Way - a gift that over the past quarter century has exceeded $1 billion.