Youth At Heart builds values on the tennis court

Since 2005, the organization has partnered with the U.S. Tennis Association to teach character lessons to students from socio-economically challenged neighborhoods.



Participants in the Youth At Heart tennis program

Valerie Grant

 

Since 2005, Tulsa’s Youth At Heart organization has partnered with the U.S. Tennis Association, using tennis to teach character lessons to students from socio-economically challenged neighborhoods.

The association funds training for YAH staff, ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) curriculum, tennis equipment and marketing materials.

As a result, “The participants are able to learn the fundamental skills of the lifelong sport of tennis,” says Marquetta Finley, YAH director of development. “Positive values such as good sportsmanship, commitment and properly handling adversity are reinforced through each student’s involvement with the program.”

Nearly 100 YAH students participated in 2017, many of whom played multiple times per week at LaFortune Park, Philcrest Hills, Lacy Park and elementary schools.

“The Tennis Association’s philosophy aligns with our organizational philosophy that tennis is a vehicle for supporting participants’ positive character development,” Finley says.

“Playing tennis taught me how to work hard to win,” says YAH participant Michael B. “I never thought that I would learn this much just from playing tennis.”

“Tennis helped me learn good sportsmanship and good manners and working cooperatively with other teammates … I have learned to respect others,” adds Nate S., another YAH student.

This month’s Mirror Mirror Gala is YAH’s annual fundraiser, which helps support its afterschool programs like tennis and its summer enrichment programs. Finley says, “Our goal is to ensure we provide a place for students to go after school to engage in positive, constructive behavior and opportunities that result in their academic achievement and success.”

 

April 6 — Mirror Mirror Gala

6-9 p.m. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tulsa-Warren Place, 6110 S. Yale Ave. Dress is sports-themed; wear a jersey from your favorite team. $75, tickets; $500-$15,000, sponsorships. Benefits Youth At Heart. Visit youthatheart.org/gala.

 

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