USTA FOUNDATION LAUNCHES SERVE & CONNECT PILOT INITIATIVE
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Feb. 14, 2018 – The USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), today announced that it will pilot a new community engagement tennis initiative, “Serve & Connect.” This program allows for select National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapters that operate in urban and rural areas to partner with local law enforcement officers in an effort to build positive police-youth relationships through tennis. Set to kick off February 23, 2018, this national initiative will be led by eight NJTL chapters.
The program model for “Serve & Connect” pairs local law enforcement with kids to learn and play tennis. The goal of this initiative is to provide an opportunity for officers to engage in ongoing positive youth interaction and community tennis programming at their local NJTL chapter.
“Serve & Connect” is designed to help teach hundreds of youth from these local NJTL chapters important life lessons about teamwork, communication, respect, healthy lifestyles, and leadership skills that can be used both on and off the court. It is also intended to help police officers identify and strengthen positive youth interaction strategies which are helpful in all aspects of law enforcement, as well as to improve perceptions and relationships between youth, police, and community residents.
The 2018 Serve & Connect NJTL chapters selected to pilot this program are:
- The ACE Project – Baltimore, MD
- The ACE Project – Riverdale, Ill
- Atlanta Youth Tennis and Education Foundation – Atlanta, GA
- Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association, Inc. – Gainesville, Fla.
- New York Junior Tennis & Learning – New York, NY
- Greater Pottstown Tennis & Learning – Pottstown, PA
- Sloane Stephens Foundation – Los Angeles, CA
- Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center – Boston, MA
“The USTA Foundation is committed to the youth participants from our hundreds of NJTL programs throughout the country and teaching them the importance of developing into model citizens and is proud to launch the Serve & Connect initiative,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “We are thrilled to partner with local law enforcement officers to help heighten these efforts so that youth understand that community engagement is one of the most vital acts that can help uplift them to gain confidence and trust in our local police, despite some depictions they see elsewhere. It is important to us that they strive for greatness whether it be on a tennis court or not, and we are glad that the local officers in these cities will help drive this message forward.”