UT Football Players Help Students Learn Life Lessons on and Off the Field

Calvin Sweeney_ Javon Ringer, Football Team Director oQuality Control Director_ Willie Ward, MLK Academy Principal_ Terry Swanson, Football Team Director Player Development

Through a partnership with the Art Tatum Zone, Toledo Museum of Art and Martin Luther King Academy For Boys, The University of Toledo football team will help young men learn the value of putting on their “armor” to face challenges in and out of the classroom.

Calvin Sweeney, PhD, president of the Art Tatum Zone also serves as the chaplain for the UT football team. He helped to coordinate the event in an effort to provide an opportunity to learn life lessons and build relationships; all while having fun. “The Art Tatum Zone exists to improve the human condition one person at a time, one family at a time, one block at a time. As an alum of UT now serving as chaplain, I am honored to make this connection to provide opportunities for children in our community, while creating a space for the team to sow into the next generation of leaders,” Sweeney said.

Twenty student-athletes along with their MLK mentees visited the Toledo Museum of Art to experience the Age of Armor: Treasures from the Higgins Armory Collection at the Worcester Museum exhibition and then engage in a hand-on art-making project.

The group then proceeded to the Museum’s Little Theater where the football players shared with the youth the importance of putting on their “armor” (football uniform and equipment) to face battles on the field and in the classroom. The event concluded with a luncheon.

“What an amazing day,” said Christine Sweeney, executive director of the Art Tatum Zone. “The group finished their day with lunch and connected in such meaningful ways.”

The Art Tatum Zone has plans to create many more opportunities for mentorship with the UT football team and the students of Toledo Public Schools.

“This is the beginning of something we can do the rest of this school year,” noted Calvin Sweeney of the once-a-week sessions some players will have with the youth until June.

Christine and Calvin Sweeney with Terry Swanson