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Boys & Girls Club of Miami Offers Tennis After School

April 5, 2005 08:09 AM

Who said that all kids just want to play baseball, soccer, basketball or football? At the Hank Klein Boys and Girls Club, tennis is the name of the game.

USA Tennis Florida is introducing tennis to 140 new players through the partnership of our local USA Tennis Region 8 Community Tennis Association and the Hank Klein Boys and Girls Club. The program is free to these kids who are in the after school care program. USA Tennis Florida Community Coordinator, Cathy Nordlund and Boys and Girls Club Director of Development, Lynne Gibson brought the idea to Executive Director, Alex Rodriguez-Roig, who embraced it and made it all happen.  

USA Tennis Florida Region 8 donated $1,000 and received a grant in the amount of $5,500 from USA Tennis Florida to give this program a great start.  Region 8 Director Rick Pardon says, “It’s great when a plan all comes together.”

The staff has organized the kids five days a week in a rotation so that each player gets to play three to four times per week.  The youngsters range in age from 5 to 14 years old, with little-to-no tennis experience. The kids started with USA Tennis’ first pathway program, Rallyball. This game teaches the basic skills of just getting the ball over the net while placing the kids on co-ed teams and keeping score by using a rally scoring system.  “Our goal,” says Rick, “is to continue the pathway into USA Team Tennis, while preparing the kids for junior competitive, high school and college tennis.” 

Rodriquez-Roig agrees with Pardon's sentiments. “It is absolutely amazing to see where we started in February to where the kids are now. They are learning and having a great time. The added benefits of this program are many:  It serves to promote positive self esteem, character and leadership development, along with health, nutrition and fitness skills, all of which fit with the mission of the Boys and Girls Club,” he says.

To continue this program, a charity event will be held to ensure funding for the next school year.  In the fall, the local USA Tennis Region 8 CTA plans to take this same program to the Boys and Girls Club at Flamingo Park in Miami Beach.  “We want to continue to promote and develop the next stars of the future,” says Rick Pardon.

For more information on any USTA programs contact Community Coordinator Cathy Nordlund at 305-252-6591 or via email.

Participants from the Boys & Girls Club of Miami
Participants enjoy an exciting game of Rallyball.
 

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