Grassroots Tennis: Play It Forward!
CTAs, public parks, schools and NJTLs are on the front lines when it comes to growing our sport in communities.
New England: High School Senior Brings Tennis to Youngsters
Will Tarini, a senior and varsity tennis team captain at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Mass., spends his summers introducing tennis to underserved youngsters in the Boston area. In 2015, Tarini started the Boston chapter of Kids Serving Kids, a foundation that collects used racquets for children. He then coupled that with a summer program he founded that gives youngsters the opportunity to try tennis.
“I have a blast doing this, especially the clinics,” Tarini says. “Seeing the smiles on their faces is awesome.
“It makes my day,” adds Tarini, who serves as a mentor, friend and aspires to be a young adult that these underserved children can look up to.
Tarini received an equipment grant from USTA New England that included dozens of racquets and balls.
“From the moment we heard about Will and his program, we knew this was something we wanted to get behind,” says Sarah Rice, the section’s manager of Community Development.
For his efforts, Tarini was recently honored with USTA New England’s 18 & Under Boys’ Sportsmanship Award.
— James Maimonis
Northern: ‘Big Three’ NJTLs Join Forces in Minnesota
Realizing there is strength in numbers, three long-time independent USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning Chapters in Minnesota — InnerCity Tennis (Minneapolis), Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center and St. Paul Urban Tennis (both in St. Paul) — have joined forces, furthering each organization’s mission of changing young lives through tennis and education.
Serving more than 7,000 kids ages 3 to 18 in the Twin Cities, the “big three” NJTLs worked with USTA Northern in forming a partnership with Youthprise, a local non-profit that champions learning beyond the classroom, in developing the Urban Youth Tennis and Education Fund.
The impact of the collaboration was immediate. On-court activities are followed by food, fellowship and an educational speaker for urban high-school students, free tournaments, a shared bus contract transporting players to tennis and leadership opportunities, and a shared staff position educating program participants and engaging them in additional opportunities.
“This joint campaign has made it possible for our three organizations to collaborate on beneficial programming for the kids we serve,” says InnerCity Tennis Executive Director John Wheaton. “Our kids get more tennis, more coaching and mentoring, and more fun times together.”
— Lisa Mushett
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