After School Program Sparks Love for Tennis

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section partnered  with Belvedere Elementary School in Fairfax County, Va., to introduce tennis as a brand new after school program during the 2018-2019 school year. The program was met with incredible enthusiasm and both the fall and spring sessions were completely full. Many children picked up a tennis racquet and began learning the sport for the first time. 

While tennis brought the student population together and helped create camaraderie through learning a new sport together, one student in particular had an experience that’s proving to be even more meaningful than expected.Maryn-belvedere-3

Maryn P., joined the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section’s after school tennis program at Belvedere Elementary last school year and according to her mom Jaana, it has opened up a whole new love of sport – especially tennis – for the young girl. 

“I am so glad that tennis is offered as an after school activity at Belvedere Elementary here in Fairfax, Va! My husband and I very much enjoy playing tennis and really wanted our daughter Maryn to learn the sport too but didn’t know how to get her started,” explained Jaana. 

“We were very thankful for tennis to be offered after school so she can learn the basics and that she could do it with other kids from school.  We thought it would be a great start, and more fun than just us [teaching her],” she added. 

As a non-profit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic aims to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and one way we do that is by providing high-quality after school tennis programs with the support of donations. We want all people, especially children to experience the benefits of tennis, a lifelong sport, so they can develop skills and healthy habits that will pay dividends for years to come.  

For Jaana, the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program has sparked an excitement in Maryn for the sport that has been enjoyable to see blossom, and doors to new opportunities are opening.  

“I think the after school tennis program has really sparked an interest with Maryn.  She was interested in watching Wimbledon this year, and we even went to the kids day at the Citi Open tournament, which we wouldn’t have known about if it wasn’t for the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program. Maryn really enjoyed participating in a tennis summer camp program as well. She is looking forward to playing tennis again as school starts. I’m so glad to have had the program offered so she can at least start learning the basics, and who knows where it will go from there,” Jaana said.

As for Maryn, learning a new sport has been pure fun.Maryn-belvedere-1

“I love learning and getting to the next level.  I was very excited to get to the red level to get a new racquet! I told my friend on the bus and now she is going to play this fall too because she also wants a racquet. I really enjoy hitting the ball back and forth- it’s fun,” she says.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is looking forward to kicking off the 2019-2020 school year of after school tennis at Belvedere Elementary and many other schools across the Mid-Atlantic region. We aim to introduce more children to tennis and spark their love of a new sport they may not have ever known. But we need to help to ensure we can succeed.

Your tax-deductible gift of $100.74 covers the cost to provide equipment, a high-quality curriculum, and instruction for one child in the program. USTA Mid-Atlantic provides all of this so participants just need to come ready to play and have fun.

As the school year is just getting underway, your gift can make an immediate difference. Importantly, you can double your gift when you give thanks to an anonymous donor matching all donations up to $10,000 in 2019.

You can help change lives through the power of the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program. Give today


USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 

After School Tennis in Title 1 Schools

Belvedere Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., is a Title 1 school with 660 students in grades K-5 and more than 60 percent of the student body on the free and reduced meal program. Belvedere supports a diverse population representing 29 countries of origin and speaking 31 different languages in the home.

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section was excited to partner with the school and their parent volunteers to bring our after school tennis program to students. As we delivered the new program, our coaches were able to see firsthand the power of tennis in this school.

In its first year, the after school tennis program was so successful with both the fall and spring sessions completely full! The students loved it! Not only that, tennis after school brought the diverse student population together and helped create camaraderie among the students while engaging in a new sport.

We are able to offer the after school tennis program at reduced rates for students and their families because USTA Mid-Atlantic is committed to subsidizing the program so that more children can participate. But we need help to ensure that we can keep doing this.

Your tax-deductible gift of $100.74 covers the cost to provide equipment, a high-quality curriculum, and instruction for one child in the program. USTA Mid-Atlantic provides all of this so participants just need to come ready to play and have fun.

The PTA parent coordinators at Belvedere shared the following feedback about the program:

“We were so thrilled to add USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis to our after school classes this past school year because we really liked the curriculum. We felt like all the children – no matter their background – would be equals through tennis. And that’s just what we saw; playing tennis became the common ground and brought students closer together. They learned sportsmanship and life skills through the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program, all while being active and having fun.”

Belvedere is one of 45 Title 1 elementary schools in Fairfax County. Of those 45 Title 1 schools in Fairfax County, there are only three schools with the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program. We want to change these numbers for the 2019-2020 school year and need your support to do so.

Increased funding will allow us to provide more after school tennis programs so that other schools like Belvedere can offer their students the opportunity to benefit from the positive impact of tennis both in Fairfax County and across the Mid-Atlantic region.

We cannot do it alone and now, as the school year is just getting underway, your gift can make an immediate difference. Importantly, you can double your gift when you give thanks to an anonymous donor matching all donations up to $10,000 in 2019.

Tennis brings the power of opportunity; The ability to learn a lifelong sport; The benefit of physical and mental learning; The chance to have FUN.  Thank you for your support.


USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 

A Reason Why

We caught up with David K., an active donor to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, and talked to him about his reasons why he supports the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. 

How long have you been playing tennis? What do you love about the sport? 

David K.: I started playing tennis in my teens, then later while I was in the U.S. Air Force in Berlin, Germany.  Following my military service, I attended college and went to work as a defense contractor from which I was deployed to many locations throughout the world.  No matter where you go, no matter what country; no matter the environment, you can always find someone who plays tennis. If you cannot find a court, there is always a wall to practice on. In 2018 I decided to try refereeing. This has proven to be a great way to stay in the game and help our youth, plus the referee has the best seat in the house! You can’t get any closer to good tennis!

Why do you choose to donate to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section? 

David K.: I like to support organizations that I know will put donations to good use and I like to help the youth of today become our leaders for tomorrow. 

Do you feel you are helping make a difference? How? 

David K.: Being a referee in the Mid-Atlantic Section, one has the opportunity to see first hand where the donations go as well as watching our youth compete and improve their skills.

You can show support and directly impact and improve access to tennis for all people in the Mid-Atlantic region by making a tax-deductible donation to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. 

Already a donor? What are your reasons why you support USTA Mid-Atlantic? Get in touch and share your “why.” We’d love to feature your story too!

Father’s Day Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

New and exciting ways to celebrate Dad with a tennis twist.

This Sunday is Father’s Day and if you feel you have exhausted all possible ways to celebrate Dad we are here to help!

Is Dad the one that is never late for a tennis match with his buddies? Or maybe he’s the one jumping at any chance to play tennis tournaments? Or was Dad “the man” for being at every one of your matches or tournaments, motivating you and fueling you up to do your best?

USTA Mid-Atlantic has compiled different, fun and exciting experiences to celebrate Dad – and it is all through your shared love of TENNIS. And the best part, you can continue them as a tradition for years to come.

So instead of gifting the yearly bow tie, a “#1 Dad” coffee mug, or socks this Father’s Day look to these ideas for inspiration on how you can salute Dad.

  • Find a court in a local park that you have never played at before and hit around with Dad. Enjoy taking in the experience of playing somewhere new, pack a picnic basket and take time for good conversation after the match;
  • Cardio tennis is becoming a huge deal, in about an hour you get a great workout in and enjoy tennis – take the whole family to your favorite court and set up cardio tennis drills or find a class near you;
  • Wimbledon is fast approaching – cook a traditional English style breakfast to share with Dad and the whole family. Bonus points for everyone that comes in white!
  • Have used tennis balls, and don’t know what to do with them? You and Dad can take them to a local animal shelter or SPCA and share the gift of tennis with all of the playful dogs;
  • Honor Dad and set up a Facebook fundraiser raising money in his name for USTA Mid-Atlantic, or donate to USTA Mid-Atlantic in your Dad’s honor;
  • Is Dad a champion for local tennis or doing something innovative for the sport in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section? Recognize and celebrate your Dad by nominating him for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Award;
  • Challenge your Dad to an on-court steps challenge – use your smartwatch or step tracker and see who can get more steps in a game of tennis;
  • Honor Dad  and purchase a brick at the US Open with his name on it;
  • Volunteer with Dad for the day at a local Community Tennis Association or see if there is a local tennis court that needs some sprucing up that you can do together as a way to give back to the local community;
  • Do you and Dad share a love for woodworking? Make a vintage tennis racquet basket to use in any room in the house;
  • And last, bake and decorate cupcakes, cookies or a cake like a tennis ball and share the tennis treat with family and friends!

Don’t just settle for a boring Father’s Day gift this year. Try something new and create a lasting tradition with Dad and the family.

Give Recognition – Nominate Champions of Tennis Today

Every year, USTA Mid-Atlantic recognizes and awards individuals and organizations that are champions in the tennis community. Award season is an exciting time of the year because individuals and organizations are being nominated by peers and others who are working hand-in-hand to fulfill a common goal, which is to bring more tennis to the community.

The accomplishments being made in the community for tennis take time, passion and commitment. Being recognized for this hard work can leave a lasting impression, validate the importance of the work being done, and can inspire others as an example to emulate. That is why it is important to nominate deserving individuals and organizations today!

We turned to last years’ award winners and asked them about the significance of being nominated and awarded a USTA Mid-Atlantic Section award.

When Jill Rene Steele, the Principal of Simpson Elementary School in West Virginia, was asked what it meant to her and her school to be awarded the Outstanding School Partner Award she said, “We were so honored to be chosen, and thrilled to be involved.” Simpson Elementary was a USTA Mid-Atlantic school partner and offered in-school opportunities to students eager to learn tennis in 2018. “Our school has gained increased confidence in realizing we can attain recognition for achievements at a greater level than just locally,” Jill notes further.

Not only are organizations recognized for their achievement in promoting tennis across the region, but individuals are also being celebrated as well.

When Riley King, winner of the Most Valuable Member Award, was asked why it is important for fellow members to nominate deserving individuals for awards he said, “It is nice to show recognition to those who invest in a sport and have a positive influence on others.” He further noted, “I’m never surprised how widespread and far-reaching the tennis community is, and yet it always feels like a “small world” because you are able to make so many connections to different people.” For Riley, being involved in this sport is not just about teaching tennis, it is about building relationships within the community as well.

Another individual who notes the importance of nominating people and organizations for a Mid-Atlantic Section award is Jerry Cifuentes. Jerry won the Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award in 2018 and winning this award continues to be a positive reinforcement in his life. When asked how it felt to be recognized in front of a crowd of people at the Washington Kastles match he said, “The feeling was incredible! It gave me the motivation to continue to do what I love, which is teaching tennis.” Not only did it feel great for Jerry to be awarded this honor, but it gave him the confidence to continue to move forward with his work. “I want to continue to work with those who may not be exposed to tennis, due to cultural, racial, or social boundaries; and I want to put them at the forefront of my coaching,” he said.

All award winners felt honored to be recognized by peers and motivated to continue to bring tennis to more people in the future.

Now it is your turn to leave your mark. If you know a deserving person or group to honor with a USTA Mid-Atlantic Section award, nominate them today and let them know they have made a positive impact for tennis.

USTA Mid-Atlantic will be accepting nominations until July 1 and will present the winners with their awards on July 20 at USTA Family Day at The Washington Kastles. Happy nominating!

If you have any further questions, please reach out to Megan Driscoll at driscoll@mas.usta.com and we will be happy to assist.