Each week we visit our Champions of Southern California Tennis – those who go above and beyond to promote and grow the game throughout SoCal and beyond. These individuals and organizations deliver the game of tennis to a variety of audiences, often in places where the significance of tennis goes far beyond the court itself. As we share their stories with you, we commend their ongoing efforts to grow the game and make positive, life-changing impacts on those they touch.
Youth Tennis San Diego (YTSD) has been providing children with physical, educational, and social development through tennis and various educational activities since 1952. Its mission is to boost youth participation and develop leadership and personal integrity. YTSD believes that by creating an environment built around active children, competitive spirit, and an opportunity to lead, participants are able to grow as responsible citizens.
The organization has seen much success with its After School Tennis program. Established in 1989, After School Tennis helps provide underprivileged youth in the San Diego area with the opportunity to play tennis. The program goes beyond merely providing children with the resources to play tennis. After School Tennis also tries to reduce and eliminate the growing problems of youths involved in crime, property damage, teenage pregnancy, and other issues present in society.
After School Tennis classes are taught by elementary and middle school teachers on-site at many schools. YTSD trains teachers in proper tennis instruction and equipment in order to ensure that children are receiving the best services and care.
“Kids that would not normally have the opportunity or accessibility to tennis are now introduced to the great sport and all it has to offer,” said Executive Director of Youth Tennis San Diego Kerry Blum.
YTSD has made its mark in San Diego, serving over 15,000 youth annually through the After School Tennis program. It is able to provide 93% of all participants with scholarships in order for these students to participate in the After School Tennis program without the financial strain.
The After School Tennis program is constructed in six-week sessions. Fundamentally, students learn how to hit a forehand, backhand, serve, and keep score. YTSD believes that by providing youths with these tennis fundamentals and concepts, the program can help alienate societal problems that many of their participants experience.
Additionally, YTSD owns and operates the George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center. The Center provides After School Tennis special events, tutoring and homework assistance, free court usage for wheelchair tennis, and numerous other opportunities.
YTSD strives to encourage students to see that tennis and education are intertwined. Participants learn how to cooperate and communicate with others, and to stay fit.