RICHFIELD, Minn. (FOX 9) - A former pro soccer player and St. Paul native is making his mark in the community.
This week, the Toney Sanneh Foundation is kicking off a summer of pro sports camps for children between the ages of 6 and 12.
The best part? It’s all free.
At Donaldson Park in Richfield, St. Paul native and retired professional soccer player Tony Sanneh hosted the first of dozens of pro sports youth camps throughout the Twin Cities metro area this summer.
The camps are spearheaded by the Sanneh Foundation.
“We offer soccer camps, basketball camps, football camps, ice skating camps and baseball camps,” Sanneh said. “They’re all 100 percent free.”
The programs focus on more than just the fundamentals of the gamel they aim to bridge communities and empower youth.
“We’re basically building the building blocks of social and emotional outcomes so kids are successful in life,” Sanneh added.
With partnerships to Minnesota’s professional sports teams like the Twins and Vikings, the kids are learning from some of the best.
“I grew up just like these kids,” said Mitch Creek, of the Timberwolves.
Creek says volunteering is a win-win for him.
“Some people don’t get the advantage to have all of these luxuries so it’s nice come out and give back to the community,” Creek added.
“Well, I set out a couple of goals in my life and one of them was to play in the World Cup and the second was to come back and use what God had given me to give back to my community,” Sanneh said.
Since relaunching his foundation more than 15 years ago, Sanneh continues to expand his reach, aiming to make a difference one child at a time.
“I go to bed smiling every day when I think of the faces, but I wake up in a storm of things to do and that keeps me motivated and keeps me going,” Sanneh said.
This year, the organization expects to provide over 6,000 children with a week of free camp. For more information on how to sign up, visit their website here.