Kings County Tennis League: Brooklyn, NY
Submission Date: 12/05/2012
Leader/Advocate Organization: Michael McCasland, President
Location: Brooklyn, NY 11206
Project Duration: 3 years
Funding Sources / Partnerships: An ongoing source of funding comes from our annual fundraiser gala and private donations. We received sizeable support, guidance and funding from the USTA Eastern Section. Citizens Committee for New York City has also supported us in adding a community service component.
Program / Project Description:
Kings County Tennis League uses the 10 and Under format to bring tennis to youth living in four New York City public housing communities in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
Each community forms a tennis “club” or team. All four of our teams comprise Kings County Tennis League. Volunteers, coaches and community advocates sign up for a particular team and stay with that particular group of kids to the end of the season.
Our volunteers are working professionals from a wide range of disciplines: lawyers, scientist, teachers, chefs and consultants. From this collective set of life experiences we use tennis to build concepts of teamwork, self-confidence and effective life skills.
Competitions occur throughout the season between the different clubs, leading to our end of season 10 and Under Play Day between all four housing communities. We plan a trip to Arthur Ashe Kids Day, as well as a community service project that the children and volunteers plan together. Classes are every Saturday from May through October.
Results Achieved / Impact:
By organizing residents of public housing around tennis, we have made it more accessible. In three years we have brought tennis to up to 105 youth each season across four public housing communities.
We recruited local volunteers, experienced tennis players and beginners. We brought over 100 children and parents to Arthur Ashe Kids Day for the first time. As a result, families who never considered tennis are now watching it on TV and practicing together on their own.
We held a clean-up day where volunteers, parents and students picked up litter and planted flowers on the block they live, something they will enjoy for many seasons to come.
In collaboration with the housing communities, over 100 children participated in our end-of-season play day with a clown, trophies and a live DJ. The participating families of Bed-Stuy are having a blast, and community leaders are genuinely excited about tennis. Parents are already signing their children up for next season and are looking to build on what we have already created.
Links to media coverage (please copy and paste the url address into your internet browser):
http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/CTA%20Newsletter%20Fall%2011.pdf (Page 6)
http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/pdf/MartyFall2012_FINAL_WEB.pdf (Page 5)
Lessons Learned / Words of Wisdom:
Tennis is becoming more accessible because the 10 and Under format allows it to be played anywhere. In applying this concept of “bringing tennis to the kids,” our success stems from proper volunteer training and taking the time to know the community that we serve.
On the training side, both advocacy and recreational coaches training provided by USTA National and Eastern proved highly effective in empowering our volunteers.
On the community side, we attended countless community meetings, developed trust and collaborated with resident associations.
In short, we have concentrated on serving each of the groups we interact with from the parents and students, to the community leaders and volunteers.