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USTA Florida Grants $10,000 to Miami-Dade Parks & Rec. for Out-of-School Tennis

October 6, 2010 08:35 AM
Miami Out-of-School Program logo 2010
The Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation Department has received a grant from USTA Florida for approximately $10,000 to be used for QuickStart Tennis equipment and blended QuickStart Tennis lines on already-existing full-size public courts for their Out-of-School programs. The grant is through USTA Florida's "Share the Love" campaign, a $500,000 initiative on top of the organization's regular annual giving to help fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times.

"With Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation being the recipient of the Share the Love grant, it will aid us in providing well-rounded, structured and affordable tennis programs for youth in our Out-of-School programs," said Carolyn T. Gibson, north region manager, Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation Department. "Tennis is a sport that once the kids are taught the basics, they can develop their skills to become competitive and even use them as an opportunity to fund their pursuit for higher education. We are so grateful to have USTA Florida as a partner and we look forward to growing tennis in the parks department."

QuickStart Tennis is designed for children age 10-and-under or older beginning players, featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of QuickStart Tennis in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

Miami-Dade Parks has joined First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign by spearheading the Out-of-School program, a health, wellness and obesity-prevention initiative for children ages 6-14 which incorporates physical activity with interactive learning designed to assist children in developing healthy lifestyles and good citizenship. The program operates during after-school hours and days spent out of school on breaks, when many working parents are unable to supervise their kids or afford daycare services. Each day's session begins with homework help, followed by SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids), an evidenced-based, outcome-oriented active recreation component of the Out-of School program.

"Last year over 1,500 children participated in the Out-of-School programs offered at our various parks," said Frank Faragalli, assistant director of operations for the Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation Department. "These programs provide children with a safe and supervised alternative to being home alone when not in school or roaming around town. Our programs provide staffing equipped to help children with their homework, and provide fun, physical-fitness-based games and recreation to help kids stay active and learn the fundamentals of team sports and play."

The Out-of-School program was initially funded under the Community Development Block Grant Recovery Program, signed into law by President Obama in 2009 and implemented locally by the Miami-Dade Department of Housing and Community Development. Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight, and active in sports such as tennis or other fitness endeavors.

"We applaud the Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation Department's efforts in bringing QuickStart Tennis to school children throughout Miami," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "As we have seen time and time again, tennis can give certainly make a difference in the lives of the children, as well as their families and the community at large."
Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more information on QuickStart Tennis in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com. For more information on local Miami USTA programs, e-mail Cathy Nordlund at nordlund@florida.usta.com.






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