Tennis Program Helps Low Income Teens Develop Resilience On and Off the Court
Tennis is a popular and fun pastime, in that it requires mental focus and athletic ability. But due to the cost of equipment and court time, lots of kids never get the chance to try their hand at the sport. Leaders of the Junior Tennis Champion Center (JTCC) recognized this cost challenge, and decided to do something to change it. In 2009, JTCC launched a Community Outreach initiative, with the goal of introducing underserved kids in Prince George's County, MD, and Washington, DC to tennis. And the program has become an indisputable success.
For anyone unfamiliar with JTCC, it's a program based on a mentoring model: JTCC recruits high-performing student-athletes in their early teens to become role models for pre-teen youth in their communities. To date, the program has reached more than 2,800 kids—amazing!
One of these teens is Robin Montgomery, whose story illustrates how important JTCC can be in a young person's life. Robin was just 5 years old when her mother brought her to start training at JTCC. Thanks to JTCC's emphasis on making tennis accessible to all, Robin was granted a scholarship. Today, Robin is 13 and a worldwide tennis star.
Robin's list of accomplishments and awards is incredible, especially given her young age! Just to name a few: Robin achieved a #1 ranking in her USTA section, and #30 in the nation; in August 2016, she made her international debut at Coupe Le Blanc in Montreal, Canada, where she helped Team USA reach the top step of the podium; and in the summer of 2017, Robin won her first national title at the USTA National Girls' 14 Doubles Clay Court Championship.
In addition to her star qualities on the court, Robin has distinguished herself off-court as well. Recently, the young athlete won a prize in the USTA Foundation's prestigious National Junior Tennis and Learning Essay Contest.
"Not only does JTCC focus on tennis and the competitive aspect of it, but its life-long lessons: problem-solving, excellent character, sportsmanship. It's a positive part of your life," says Robin's mom Gabby.
Most recently, Robin lived up to the off-court lessons of the JTCC through her involvement in establishing a community outreach site at Hope Community Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. She takes seriously the emphasis that JTCC puts on student-athletes becoming role models for kids in their communities. And she has been recognized for it: Robin received the 2017 FILA REACH (Realizing Extraordinary Accomplishments with Courage and Humility) Award.
Thanks in part to the JTCC and its unique program, Robin has achieved an incredible amount in just 13 years. "JTCC will always have a special place in my heart," she says with a smile.
This HooplaHa original video was produced by Tracy Chevrier, shot by Adam Morrell, and edited by Kellie Sieban. For more inspiring videos, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.
Victoria Gouletas sensibly waited until after a Nor'easter had passed through their Connecticut town before venturing out to check for damage to her family's home. What she could not have expected was that a tree limb, weakened by the storm, would suddenly fall on her, forever altering the course of life for her and her family.
It was just one of thousands of new videos that are posted every day... but this one was different. Quickly, the story shifted into high gear and exploded as most viral videos do. It swept across the globe - 50,000… 300,000 … 1,000,000+ views - and overnight, Adam and Jared were social media stars.
A new baby is on the way and Trans Activist and motivational Speaker Aydian Dowling, and his wife, Jenilee, are clearly focused on planning for the future. This involves the need to think through how all the new things and new experiences they are going through will fit into their already crazy lifestyle.
At 15, Caly Bevier put her life on hold to battle ovarian cancer. Now, at 18, with her music propelling her forward, Caly is ready to release her new single, "Head Held High", and leave cancer in her dust.
Sonya del Gallego is a small, powerfully built, cheerful woman who doesn't exactly fit the profile of what one imagines when they think of a sumo wrestler. Not surprisingly, she is defiant in challenging gender stereotypes, and is an advocate for being yourself, regardless of whether it fits society's standards of "normal".
There's a bunch of teenagers swarming round a residential home, coming and going in a flurry and making a racket. Out of control party? Vandalism? Actually, these kids are volunteers, providing home repairs for elderly, disabled or low income residents in a small town, and trying to bring hope to their lives while making some lasting connections.
It's a given that adopting a dog from a shelter is a roll of the dice. There is typically little information about what that animal has been through and for how long, and the best you can do when you visit is take in what you see, hear, and feel and make your decision.