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USTA Serves Awards Four Grants In Section

February 3, 2009 07:25 PM

USTA Serves – Foundation for Academics. Character. Excellence., the philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA, announced today four $15,000 grants to USTA Southern tennis organizations.

Grants went to the Atlanta Youth Tennis Foundation of Atlanta, Communities in Schools (CIS) of Charleston, S.C., Tennis in the ‘Hood( TITH) of Fayetteville, Ga.and Youth Development Association (YDA) iof Huntsville, Ala.

USTA Serves awards grants to programs that successfully combine tennis and education and help children pursue their goals and highest dreams by succeeding in school and becoming responsible citizens.

The Atlanta Youth Tennis Foundation began in 1998 and has grown to involve over 3,000 children at 25 participating sites. The Foundation partners with Youth Incorporated and is supported by the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. Their mission is to give as many children as possible a safe haven after school and during the summer, to promote higher education and combat truancy, juvenile delinquency, and teen violence, utilizing skills derived from the game of tennis. The program also offers computer instruction, mentoring and counseling. The funding will support the organization’s After School Youth Development and Summer Programs which offer group and semi-private tennis instruction, tournament scholarships, and a strong educational program featuring mentoring and homework assistance. The grant will also help cover the cost of coaching and counselors, teaching materials, healthy snacks, tennis and computer equipment, field trips and summer camp activities.

The mission of Communities in Schools is to champion all youth to stay in school by connecting the best community resources with the needs of students, their families and schools. Today, the organization serves over 2,400 students and their families in 12 Charleston County schools. The Student Support Program has been designed to meet deficiencies found both outside and within the classroom that contribute to school failure and drop-out. Building on the success of the 2007-2008 Aces for Kids-CIS Initiative, CIS will continue to promote healthy recreation and physical fitness among these young people. In collaboration with multiple community partners, the Aces for Kids project will enable 60 low-income, predominantly African-American children, in grades 2-5, to receive weekly tennis instruction, structured literacy assistance, and regular life skills lessons that address the multiple risk factors that this traditionally underserved population faces.

The mission of Tennis in the ‘Hood is to bring quality tennis and educational support programs to children in the South Metro Atlanta area -- for free or at very low cost. To date, they have reached more than 3,000 children. The goal is to help kids build healthy bodies and minds and to instill the desire to learn and achieve through tennis instruction and creative learning programs. The USTA Serves grant will fund TITH’s after-school program, which utilizes tennis as the ‘hook’ to attract 40 local youth. The curriculum consists of four components: in-direct instruction (enrichment activities); direct instruction (tutoring and/or teacher led activities); tennis and physical fitness activities; and prevention/intervention workshops.

The Youth Development Association conducts the Extraordinary Lives program which promotes the advancement of minorities, with a focus on development opportunities for youth. YDA fosters quality education through intervention, diversity, arts, health and community-based athletics. The USTA Serves grant funds will support the YDA summer and after-school programs which serve 400 students.

USTA Serves has awarded 39 grants in its final “Aces for Kids” funding cycle for 2008, for a total of $574,700. The number of program grants awarded in 2008 was 58, for a total amount of $886,960. Combined with scholarship awards, the Foundation distributed almost $1.2 million in 2008.

“Aces for Kids” is a national initiative of USTA Serves. It strives to promote healthy lifestyles by combating childhood/adult obesity by providing underserved, at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format. At “Aces for Kids” program sites, children between the ages of 5-18 learn about healthy nutrition and lifestyles, responsible citizenship, study skills, and computer literacy; interact with a mentor and other students; attend college preparatory sessions; and learn to play tennis in a team format.

“It is extremely rewarding to see how programs across the country are using USTA Serves funding to help children improve academically and learn positive life skills which will help them grow to be healthy, productive adults,” said Karen Martin-Eliezer, Chief Executive, USTA Serves. “We are grateful to the USTA, and so many corporations and individual donors for the generous support that empowers USTA Serves to allocate life-changing funds.”

 

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