A Toms River councilman has formed a non-profit organization to help keep extra curricular activities in the school district in the midst of tough economic times and from the dagger dealt to Toms River Schools from the State's S2 school funding formula.

The brand new Toms River Education Foundation is raising money through events with all the proceeds going toward funding extra curricular activities.

Toms River Councilman Terrance Turnbach explains that the foundation is not only meant to keep programs up and running but keep them free for students.

"We don't want a situation where the students are being asked to pay to participate or pay to play so we want every student to have an equal opportunity to participate in any programs they want to...that's what school is about," Turnbach tells 92.7 WOBM News.

All the money raised through the foundation will go towards a variety of needs for extra curricular activities to take place.

"100-percent of the money raised will go back to the school district to fund extra curricular activities and there's no particular focus on any one activity," Turnbach said. "It's not going to be all for sports or all for the arts, it's going to be where the need is so we want to make sure that if children want to be involved in a play, that there's funding for the play, if they want to be involved in intramural sports, that there's funding for intramural sports, if there's a need for uniforms, that uniforms can be paid for so it'll be across the board."

The money is meant to keep the extra curricular activities going but while and when they are, the focus shifts towards helping students develop important life skills.

"We just want to give the kids every opportunity to be students and to have the experience of being a student at the Toms River Regional School District where they can do whatever they want to do...that's where they're going to grow," Turnbach said.

From his time spent working at the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center to his time spent as a Criminal Defense Attorney, Turnbach has seen what some of the poor choices young men and women with nothing to do after school make when not involved in extra curricular activities, which is a reason why they're needed.

"I saw a lot of young men and women that needed help, that were maybe from broken homes or didn't have the ability to participate in different programs, they didn't have families driving them to go to school to be involved in extra curricular activities so I've had experience for a long time knowing that could lead to problems," Turnbach said. "You always want to help young men and women who are in situations like that to improve their lives. I've seen the affects of what idle time can have on young men and women and we don't want that for any of our students."

Turnbach was among the local leaders joining in the bus trips to the Statehouse in Trenton pushing for change and pleading with the state, Governor Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney to prevent cuts to funding.

"We went to Trenton on multiple occasions with the Toms River Council and with the school board in an effort to try and ask the Governor's office not to make these cuts," Turnbach said. "When I was taking these trips there, I realized that wasn't enough, we had to do something else. Our complaints weren't really being heard and it wasn't going to be the answer."

Turnbach then turned his attention towards creating the foundation to help with funding the extra curricular activities.

"I started talking with different people in the community and different members of the board of education and other foundations...everyone wanted to do something and we all came together," Turnbach said.

The foundation will hold a series of events to help raise money including an upcoming 5K-Run/Walk later this month.

"Our goal is to raise as much money as we can," Turnbach said. "We're going to speak to local businesses and try to get sponsorships and see if people will match what monies we can raise and Toms River has a lot of residents I know will do that and a lot of great businesses that have been around for a long time and I know will respond to the students because at the end of the day the students are going to be the future of Toms River."

The 5K-Run/Walk will take place on Saturday November 28 starting a little after 2:00 pm in downtown Toms River.

You can get event details on the Toms River Education Foundation Facebook page.


You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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