CTA of the year: InnerCity Tennis Foundation
Founded in 1952, InnerCity Tennis (ICT) in Minneapolis initially helped young people with limited means thrive physically, emotionally and socially within the game of tennis. More than 60 years later, the program is still going strong, as ICT serves nearly 4,000 youngsters with free and low-cost programming, using tennis as a vehicle to develop world-class citizens. And for all its success, InnerCity Tennis is TI’s Community Tennis Association of the Year.
ICT delivers a wide variety of tennis and academic programming, including summer tennis at 23 city parks; free indoor lessons during the winter; Academic Creative Engagement (ACE), an accredited out-of-school time curriculum for grades 3-5 supporting academic achievement, health/wellness and social/emotional skills; adaptive tennis; and Cities Academy, a comprehensive tennis training system for kids of all ages and abilities.
In recent years, ICT, which was named 2014 USTA Northern Member Organization of the Year, has expanded its focus in serving the entire tennis community after the purchase of the Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center, servicing an average of 3,500 adults and juniors a week.
“InnerCity Tennis offers opportunities for all players, both on and off the court,” says Maiysha Warren, USTA National Manager of Community Tennis Associations. “It is a model organization and continues to grow the game by positively impacting the lives of all it touches.”
— Lisa Mushett
Tips for success
- InnerCity Tennis is home to the 1,500-member Senior Tennis Players Club, the largest group of its kind in the country. Many of these seniors volunteer with ICT’s youth programming.
- ICT works directly with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and Minneapolis Public Schools, further expanding its footprint in the community.
- Measure success by the impact on young peoples’ values and life skills, not athletic achievement.
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