Make a Difference: Try a Facebook Fundraiser for USTA Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic tennis community has one thing in common – a passion and love for the sport of tennis that is so infectious you cant help but want to play the sport!  Meet any Mid-Atlantic tennis player and they will share all the reasons why tennis is so great, and then they will recruit you to play on their team too! It is this passion for tennis and influence that is so inspiring.

As a non-profit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic depends on this enthusiasm – and donations – to help us achieve our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. We aim to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and our highest priority is to introduce tennis to all children.

Our youth tennis programs bring the sport to kids who may not ever have the opportunity to pick up a racquet. These programs are directly provided by USTA Mid-Atlantic and need support to grow to reach even more children with the benefits that only tennis can deliver.

This is where the Mid-Atlantic tennis community enthusiasm, creativity and passion can come in! We know there are many tennis players and enthusiasts that want to do more to support the mission. So here is a way you can get involved…

Rally your friends and family through a Facebook Fundraiser! 

By doing a Facebook Fundraiser in support of the USTA Mid-Atlantic you help put a racquet in the hands of a child, and help connect them with a sport for life! Facebook fundraisers are really easy to do and can be done to celebrate your birthday, a special occasion or just to do something good! 

Here are 3 easy steps to getting your Facebook fundraiser off the ground!

  1. Visit our USTA Mid-Atlantic Facebook Page and “like” our page!
  2. Click “Create Fundraiser” on our page or follow this link (https://www.facebook.com/fund/ustamas/) and follow the steps to create your own personalized Facebook Fundraising Page!
  3. Share your fundraiser with friends and family by inviting them from your friends list!

Just getting 10 friends to give $10 equates to $100 to support local youth tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section and that will make a big difference in a young child’s life. Doing good can be easy, fun and feels great! Give a Facebook fundraiser a try! 

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.

Scholarship Program Helps Brothers Excel in Tennis and Life

It started by hitting balls against a wall. For then four-year-old Amir C., he had no choice to be at the tennis courts with his grandparents and brother who was training and competing in tennis at a higher level. To pass the time, he would hit balls against a wall, but everything changed when someone saw a talent in him that couldn’t be ignored. Red ball, orange ball, green ball, he improved through the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s youth tennis progression and now at 11 years old, is expertly competing in junior tournaments throughout the Mid-Atlantic and nationally.

But for Amir’s family, he and his brother Mikeal’s competitive tennis mean a lot of sacrifices especially financially. The boys are being raised by their grandparents and since they are retired the family has limited income. But they’ve had support from USTA Mid-Atlantic’s scholarship program for both boys over the years to help cover some costs such as travel to major tournaments.tennis-hitting-wall-tennis-ball-hoffmann

“I fully support the Mid-Atlantic scholarship program,” says Mikeal and Amir’s grandmother, a tennis player herself and along with the boys’ grandfather, their primary caregiver. “It is extremely hard financially, and the scholarships that we have been fortunate enough to get have been a life saver. It has assisted us in paying tournament fees and travel costs.” 

When Mikeal and Amir were younger, their grandparents began totting the boys along  to the courts. It was only natural that both boys got into the sport. Older brother Mikeal fell in love with tennis and began competing in tournaments when he was seven. Now, he is 17 and is looking into playing Division I collegiate tennis.

And there are many families just like this one, whose children are dreaming big and performing on the tennis court that need help to keep those dreams going. You can be the one that supports the dream and makes a difference.

As can be the case in competitive junior tennis, costs to train and travel tend to increase as young athletes progress. For highly competitive junior tournament players, their tennis experience and development includes traveling to local and regional tournaments, extra hours on the tennis court training and frequent purchases of new equipment.

These costs can be a significant barrier for many families in the Mid-Atlantic region, especially those of low-income. This can mean some families are faced with really tough financial decisions, especially when every dollar counts.

At USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, our ultimate vision is that every child in the Mid-Atlantic plays tennis. We don’t want any child precluded from playing tennis because of financial challenges. We know how important and powerful it is to provide youth a healthy, empowering and enriching activity that can launch the next generation into a successful future.

That’s why we have a scholarship program that supports high performance junior players in need and you can help more kids grow through tennis when you support our programs too.

“Whatever the amount of the scholarship, we have put it to great use on the kids. It has allowed them to be able to play the bigger tournaments that we would otherwise not be able to afford to participate in. They both have really improved their tennis by being able to compete at some of these national tournaments,” says Mikeal and Amir’s grandmother.

She also says that tennis has truly shaped the boys lives for the better, giving the boys friends for life and the know-how to treat and respect their friends. She says they have learned good sportsmanship and integrity, and how to be organized thanks to tennis. And that the sport has made them want to have healthier habits and keeps them grounded.

She adds, “We really appreciate the funds we receive for their tennis. The expenses add up really fast, especially if you have more than one player to support. So much is needed and the scholarship program is a great help to families.”

Last year, USTA Mid-Atlantic was able to provide six players scholarships that totaled $2,500.

We want and need to do more for our youth and families in the Mid-Atlantic that may be struggling financially but that are striving for excellence on the tennis court. Are you able to make a gift and support our scholarship and other programs that help keep kids in the sport?

Make a donation today to USTA Mid-Atlantic and support the future of our sport.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service and has the Guide Star Silver Seal of Transparency. 

 

He Struggled to Belong Until Tennis Came into his Life

I believe in the power of tennis and its ability to change lives and want to share my story and tell you how you can help more kids by showing your support to USTA Mid-Atlantic.

Issac PhotoMy name is Jill and my story involves my 8 year-old son, Issac. He is on the autism spectrum and has always struggled to find a place where he belongs. We tried to involve Issac in many different activities with little success and sports in general had been hard for him – that was until tennis came into his life.

Two years ago, we moved to a new town in West Virginia and Issac participated in the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s TGA Premier Youth Tennis Summer Camp program, and he LOVED it! It was one-on-one and just about him, the court, and the ball.  For the first time, he was able to focus and give his full attention to a sport.

Issac showed aptitude in tennis and  wanted to continue to take the sport even further. He now participates in the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s TGA Premier Youth Tennis After School Program which has helped him build his self-confidence, independence, listening skills and social skills.  The program is about so much more than just the sport and it has truly been life changing for Issac and our family.  Issac’s school work has improved,  he is more focused and now he has an outlet for physical activity.Issac Boyce

Most importantly, Issac has a place where he feels like he belongs. He has a self-identity and is gaining important social skills through tennis that will help him in the future, which, as a mom, gives me peace of mind.

I am so grateful to the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Youth Tennis After School and Summer Camp programs. We live in West Virginia, where tennis programs are few.  Because of USTA Mid-Atlantic’s commitment to bringing tennis to every child in the Section, my son was able to find  a program and a place where he could thrive. Through the power of tennis, he has discovered his passion and talent.  He takes great pride in that and so do I.

As you may know, USTA Mid-Atlantic’s tennis after school and summer camp program provides low-cost tennis programming in safe and convenient environments. Tennis is used to help kids learn science, math and technology concepts along with lessons in sportsmanship and decision making.  Since the program started,  USTA Mid-Atlantic has reached 9,000 kids throughout Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  It has been highly rated by school administrators, educators and parents alike.

Tennis is creating a future for Issac and so many other kids.  A gift of $100.74 covers the cost of equipment, a high quality curriculum, and instruction for one child in the program. So far this year, the USTA Mid-Atlantic has reached more than 3,649 kids through the youth tennis after school and summer camp program. Our goal is to reach more than 4,200 kids in 2019. 

I ask that you join me and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section and their youth tennis programs this year with your year-end gift- give the gift of tennis to a child just like Issac.  My family and I love the after school tennis program and want the USTA Mid-Atlantic to be able to bring the program to more kids that need it. Together, we have the power to help the USTA Mid-Atlantic make tennis the most accessible and most played sport for young people throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Thank you for taking time to read about Issac, the power of tennis and the power of USTA Mid- Atlantic to change a life.

Sincerely,

Jill

Proud Parent, USTA Mid-Atlantic TGA Premier Youth Tennis Program

P.S. Your gift of $100.74 will help a child, just like Issac, who enters the TGA Premier Youth Tennis Program in the Mid-Atlantic realize the possibilities the future holds.

Top Things we are Thankful For About Tennis

At  USTA Mid-Atlantic we often say tennis is so much more than a game played with a racquet and ball. We believe tennis is a culture, a community and a passion that builds character, enhances your life and makes you who you are.

With the Thanksgiving season here, we started thinking and talking about the sport we love and why we are so thankful to not only be working to grow the game and get more we-love-mid-atlantic-tennispeople playing but also simply why we. LOVE. Tennis. So. Much!

So we started a list of things about tennis we are so thankful for and appreciate. By reflecting on this appreciation we hope more people can understand why tennis is special and feel motivated to show their support during the charitable giving season to ensure all people in the Mid-Atlantic region, especially children, get to experience the benefits of a game that gives back in so many ways. Our list is by no means complete so we definitely want to hear from you on what you would add too. Here goes:

Tennis makes us thankful for…. 

What would you add to the list that we have not included? Leave a comment or tweet us (@USTAMidAtlantic) with your comment using #ThankfulforTennis.

 

Unique Partnership Breaks Down Barriers to Tennis

Building confidence. Developing character. Acquiring the skills needed to become productive, responsible adults.

That’s what the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW) strives to do for the youth in their clubs.

These aspects are also what USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, delivers to young people through the sport of tennis, while also giving kids a physical outlet and path to friendships and fun that can stay with them for a lifetime. USTA Mid-Atlantic depends on contributions and donations to succeed on the mission to not only grow tennis but to change lives and improve communities through the sport.

With synergies apparent, USTA Mid-Atlantic and BGCGW partnered together during the summer of 2018 to bring tennis to kids age 5 – 18 that did not have access to the sport. Nearly half of the population served by BGCGW lives at or below poverty level, and in populations such as these, most don’t have access to tennis. Thanks to the USTA Mid-Atlantic, more than 400 of these kids got the feel of the racquet, most for the very first time.

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USTA Mid-Atlantic delivered tennis to two BGCGW locations including the Culmore Club and the Martin K. Alloy Club of Manassas. For the Culmore club, participants came from Bailey’s Elementary, Glasgow Middle School and Glen Forest Elementary, in Fairfax County, Va. Counselors-in-training also joined, all of which were from Justice High School in Falls Church, Va. For the Martin K. Alloy Club at least 20 different schools were represented as part of Prince William County Public School District, Manassas City School District, or Manassas Park City School District.

Over the course of 10 weeks, USTA Mid-Atlantic delivered tennis summer camp programming, which introduces tennis through fun and enriching experiences, incorporates STEM concepts and builds life skills such as respect, honesty, decision-making and sportsmanship through the game.20180817_105322-1242007325-1540390083859.jpg

USTA Mid-Atlantic provided verified and trained coaches to run the tennis programming along with the racquets, balls, curriculum and fun. The children didn’t just learn how to hit forehands and backhands. They learned about the benefits that come with playing tennis, such as:

  • Tennis is great exercise. It uses every muscle in the body and is a sport that they can play for their entire life;
  • Anyone can play tennis no matter their ability, and families can play together;
  • Sportsmanship, honesty and friendship are the all at the forefront of playing tennis.

Thanks to grant funding secured by USTA Mid-Atlantic, the tennis program was provided to the participants of the BGCGW at no cost.

“Because of the USTA Mid-Atlantic program over the summer, our kids were able to get exposed to a sport that they would not normally get the opportunity to participate in,” said Yolanda Gales, program director for Culmore Boys & Girls Club. “While it was hot and at times the weather seemed to not be as dry as they would have liked, they all enjoyed going out and being allowed to hit balls with each other while learning different techniques.”20180817_105251-2643274327-1540389946660.jpg

For USTA Mid-Atlantic, it is the highest priority to have all children in the Mid-Atlantic play tennis and experience the life-long benefits that come from the game – no matter their background, zip code, resources or ability.

“Our vision is that every child in the Mid-Atlantic plays tennis because we see first-hand how the sport transforms lives and helps kids gain qualities that will serve them on and off the tennis court,” said Tara Fitzpatrick-Navarro, chief executive officer of USTA Mid-Atlantic. “We were excited to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington because together we were able to break down barriers and help kids find new qualities in themselves that they may not ever have imagined were there by sampling a new sport.”

Gales said some kids enjoyed learning the ins and outs of a new sport as well as being exposed to something different.

“Getting the kids involved in something out of their norm is what the Boys & Girls Clubs attempts do with partnerships like the one with USTA Mid-Atlantic,” Gales said. “Most of our elementary and middle schoolers are not given the opportunity to play sports after school unless they are playing for the Boys & Girls Club. And because most of our children come from below poverty income households, getting exposed to anything outside of what they are able to play in their front yards seems impossible to obtain.”

Gales is grateful that USTA Mid-Atlantic invested in the future of hundreds of local kids and is hopeful that the partnership will continue.

“We would love to have the opportunity to have USTA Mid-Atlantic come again during the school year,” she said.

This school year, USTA Mid-Atlantic is delivering their tennis programming after school in both Prince William and Fairfax counties, with hopes of expanding into many of the schools that serve the BGCGW participants. With tennis programming being provided immediately following the school day within school buildings, the organization aims to create a safe environment that gives kids a positive outlet and shows them the way to healthy habits for life and continues the lessons learned during the summer.

But support is needed to make programs like the one delivered this summer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington available for low to no-cost to the students in these under-resourced communities.

With your help, USTA Mid-Atlantic can bring more tennis programs to these kids and meet the goal of reaching 4,256 youth with after school tennis programming and enrichment. You can show your support by making a donation today.  


 

Harry Holtzclaw is an intern with USTA Mid-Atlantic. Harry is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Recreation Management from James Madison University.