NJTL of the Year: Portland After School Tennis & Education
For nearly 20 years, Portland After School Tennis & Education in Oregon has been helping to deliver services that have significantly impacted the lives of at-risk children and their families.
The organization was started in 1996 by Ernest Hartzog, the former assistant superintendent for Portland schools, whose goal was for low-income kids to learn how to play tennis, says current Executive Director Danice Brown. Thanks to his solid foundation, the program has evolved to include much, much more.
“After I came on board in 2007, I told the board, ‘We’re keeping a group of children “kind of” safe for one hour.’ I suggested we limit it to 12 children, participating for eight weeks, two hours a day, with two coaches.”
The year-round program now has 64 kids, who receive 12 to 16 hours a week of tutoring or enrichment, in addition to tennis (lessons, clinics, JTT and tournaments). But PAST&E also touches more than 1,000 kids a year through programming throughout Portland.
PAST&E has been recognized as a “Best in Class” program for the USTA’s National Junior Tennis & Learning network, and for 2015, it’s Tennis Industry’s inaugural winner of the NJTL of the Year award.
Brown, a former general manager at a private club, herself was named TI’s Grassroots Champion in 2012 for her work with PAST&E, but she’s quick to credit the help of many in the NJTL’s success, including her “mentor,” Dave Higaki of East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring. — Peter Francesconi
Tips for Success
- Parents need to connect with and understand tennis, so create opportunities for them to learn and play the game, too.
- Programs need to think in terms of the needs of the children. To have a real impact on kids, they spend at least 12 hours a week at PAST&E; 60 percent of their time is on academics and 40 percent on tennis/fitness.
- Parternships, partnerships, partnerships! Take advantage of all you can to reach your goals.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.
TI magazine search
TI magazine articles
- Our Serve: Clarity and Simplicity
- Industry News
- Racquet Tech: Stringing Blind
- Grassroots Tennis: Play It Forward!
- Player Ratings: Leveling the Field
- Building Our Future
- 2017 Racquet Selector: Finding the Perfect Fit
- Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards: Soft Serve
- Stringing Machine Review: Tourna 600-ES