February 16th, 2018
Gainesville Named as Pilot Location for USTA ‘Serve & Connect’ Kids Program
The Gainesville (Florida) Area Community Tennis Association has been chosen to serve as a pilot program location for a new USTA community engagement tennis initiative, “Serve & Connect.”
The 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 Feb. 23, 2018, the initiative will be led by eight NJTL chapters across the country.
“Our kickoff event will be Saturday, Feb. 24 from noon to 2 p.m. at T.B. McPherson Park in Southeast Gainesville,” says the GACTA’s Anne Koterba.
Serve & Connect pairs local law enforcement with kids to learn and play tennis. The goal of the 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 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.
Kick-off for the Serve and Connect program will be Saturday, February 24th, noon-3 PM at T.B. McPherson Recreation…
Other pilot program locations are Baltimore; Riverdale, Ill.; Atlanta; New York; Pottstown, Penn.; Los Angeles, and Boston.
“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.”
For more information go to www.usta.com/news.