Meet Our Teach Healthier After School Manager! A Q&A With Angel Toscano
Angel Toscano, our Teach Healthier After School manager, has been with IT’S TIME TEXAS since he was an intern with our after school program back in 2009! Eight years later, He now oversees the implementation of Teach Healthier After School at nearly 30 Title I Austin area schools. Since Angel knows our after school program better than anyone, we asked him to share a bit about it!
Q: What does an average afternoon look like for a kid in the Teach Healthier After School program?
A: On a typical afternoon, a student will check into the after school program and then be served either a healthy snack or small dinner. After their meal or snack, students will work on homework for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, a student will go into the IT’S TIME TEXAS after school program where they will be a part of an active lesson such as a tag game, obstacle course, relay race, or sport. They will also learn a nutrition lesson that complements that day’s physical activity!
Q: Instructors use our Teach Healthier mobile app to lead lessons. Can you explain how that works?
A: Sure! All IT’S TIME TEXAS instructors have Teach Healthier downloaded on their mobile phone. Before class, they will go into the app and decide which lesson they want to lead that day; there are options in the app so they can pick a lesson that best fits their grade level and the amount of time they have. Once in class, they will open the Teach Healthier app and lead the lesson right from there, recording the number of students they’re teaching and the number of minutes delivered. All of the instructions for lessons are right in the Teach Healthier app, so it makes it easy for them!
Q: What do you love most about the Teach Healthier After School program?
A: The thing I love the most about our program is the smiles and laughs we get when a student is running around playing our games. When I visit our classes, I am always looking to see how the students feel about our program and make sure they are having fun. When it comes down to it, we are in the business of helping students have fun while staying active so they form healthy habits as they grow.
Q: Who or what has inspired you to make healthy choices yourself, and to do this work every day?
A: Growing up, I was always involved in basketball – I mean I would eat, sleep, and breathe basketball – so I was always an active guy. However, I have never been a thin person, and I have always been known as the big guy and have struggled with my weight. Then I tore my ACL and MCL during my senior year of high school, and I gained weight at a fast pace due to being sedentary and not eating healthy. This trend continued until I transferred to Texas State and had to learn how to cook for myself. Once I started to cook, I took living healthier to the next level. So even though I am still considered a big guy to today’s standards, I work out regularly, continue to play basketball, and cook the majority of my meals. I am inspired daily by other people’s stories, people at the gym, blogs, and new healthy recipes to continue living a healthy life! I am just a big kid at heart and my hope is that students can learn about these healthy habits early on, so they don’t have to experience the health roller coaster I have been on.
Q: What kinds of stories or feedback do you hear from instructors that make you feel like the program is a success?
A: Every month we hold an instructor meeting where we have our supervisors give kudos to their instructors, and have our instructors share personal success stories from the month. We hear about students who leave our class wanting to exercise more at home, wanting to cook some healthier meals with their families… by the end of the program students can take school meals and account for the different My Plate food groups, or they’ll pledge to give up a favorite “whoa food” of theirs that isn’t the healthiest. I love hearing these stories every month more than anything.
If you’re interested in joining our after school team as a part-time instructor in the Austin area, check out the job application on this page! You can learn more about Teach Healthier After School here.