The South Florida Youth Tennis Program is a long-term partnership initiative dedicated to bringing free tennis programs to under-resourced and under-served youth in the Miami area. The program leverages public parks in the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County to expand participation and availability of after-school and NJTL programs, with a particular focus on underserved youth.

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Why Miami?

Miami-Dade County has one of the largest and most diverse populations in the state of Florida.

The total population is 2.76 million, and 76.8% are U.S. citizensThe county demographic breakdown is 68.6% Hispanic or Latino; 15.8% Black or African American; and 13.1% White.It is important to note that 75.4% of the people in Miami-Dade County speak a non-English language.

Key South Florida Youth Tennis Project Partners

With a mission of “Changing Lives through Tennis”, the USTA Florida Section Foundation provides financial support to organizations that help people of all ages and abilities improve their health and quality of life through the great game of tennis.

Since 2005 the USTA Florida Section Foundation has awarded more than $1,750,000 in grants for tennis programs serving people of all ages and abilities throughout Florida. The Foundation’s primary source of funding is the Play Tennis! License plate. Nearly 4,000 plates are on the road today, helping to raise nearly $80,000 each year to directly support community tennis programs. The giving arm of the USTA Florida Section, the Foundation returns 90% of the annual contributions it receives from the “Play Tennis!” license plate directly back into the Florida tennis community, primarily through local grassroots community program grants.

The USTA Florida Foundation closed out 2020 by granting approximately $80,000 back into the Florida grassroots tennis community. Through the first half of 2021, $39,800.30 in grant funding was awarded to several community tennis organizations, many of which are helmed or assisted by volunteers.

As part of the South Florida Youth Tennis Program, the USTA Florida Section Foundation has funded blended lines at three of the participating facilities. Additionally, the Foundation administers the Bobby Curtis Memorial Fund, dedicating to supporting underserved youth in the Miami-area.

“USTA Florida Foundation is comment to changing lives through tennis and therefore thrilled to see the South Florida Youth Tennis Project brought to fruition. We are proud to provide the blended lines at three of the program locations that were in need to ensure the athletes get to enjoy the proper use of quality public tennis facilities.”

USTA Florida has a long history and experience rooted in South Florida. Founded in 1949, USTA Florida headquarters initially was based in Miami Shores and then moved to Pompano Beach, where we operated until 2002. USTA Florida Junior tennis (precursor to USTA Junior Team Tennis) was founded by long-time USTA Florida employee Bobby Curtis at Moore Park decades ago.

USTA Florida’s mission is To Promote and Develop Tennis for ALL in Florida. We provide a wide range of services to help deliver play opportunities that serve every demographic and need. We maintain a particular focus on providing low-cost/high-quality community programs in our public park systems across the state.

Our USTA Florida staff and volunteers have served the Miami market continuously since our founding. Our current staff have lifelong ties in the Miami area, and we maintain excellent relationships with providers, public officials, CTAs, NJTLs, and Park and Recreation staff.

USTA Florida has strong partnerships with USPTA and USPTR (coaching certification organization) to grow the number of coaches and especially the number of diverse coaches in the State of Florida. This project is an opportunity for us to work with both organizations to develop, train and employ new female and Black tennis coaches to deliver play opportunities in the public park space.

“USTA Florida is committed to investing in partners and communities that deliver tennis to everyone. We are proud to work alongside First Serve Miami and all of our city, county and local partners to lay the foundation for a program that will deliver tennis to youth and adults in every public park in Miami.” – Laura Bowen, USTA Florida Executive Director

Arthur Ashe co-founded the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) in 1969 with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder. Their vision was to “use tennis as a way to gain and hold the attention of young people…so that we can teach them about matters more important than tennis… Through tennis, lives can be changed, and spirits reclaimed.”

First Serve Miami will not only be a valuable partner for the duration of the project with their presence and expertise in the community, but they will also be a major part of the pathway for participants who will want to continue their tennis education and/or take their tennis skills to the next level.

Since 1974, over 33,000 Miami kids have had the opportunity to learn tennis and valuable life skills by participating in free, affordable First Serve Miami programs. Since 2008, with their “Adopt a Player” initiative, First Serve Miami has given economically a socially challenged highly competitive children the opportunity to compete locally and nationally with the goal of using their talent and academics to attend college. Between Moore Park and Bryan Park, 52 graduating seniors have received scholarships to attend higher institutions of learning.

“The South Florida Youth Tennis Program will give Miami’s youth from underserved communities an opportunity to learn the game of tennis, as well as grow in life. For First Serve Miami, It’s All About the Kids!” -James A. Champion, FSM Chairman

USTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization incorporated in 1994 as the philanthropic entity of the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The mission of the USTA Foundation is to bring tennis and education together to change lives.

USTA Foundation uses the sport of tennis as a vehicle to help under-resourced youth become more engaged in school and learning with the goal of succeeding in tennis and in life. Its flagship National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) program delivers year-round free or low cost tennis instruction, academic support and enrichment opportunities to positively impact lives from childhood to adulthood.

The NJTL network features more than 260 chapters that reach over 160,000 youth on an annual basis, providing programming to the 50 largest markets in the U.S. – nurturing future leaders and enabling kids in need to succeed on the court, in the classroom and in life. The Foundation raises money to support these life-changing programs through private donations, special fundraisers held throughout the year, corporate sponsorships, grants, and by connecting with other philanthropic and strategic partners.

The Foundation supports these chapters by providing financial grants, scholarship opportunities, curricula, technical assistance, and training. To date, the USTA Foundation has awarded more than $53 million in program services, grants and scholarships to hundreds of programs, benefitting thousands of children through tennis, education and health curricula.

Mission Statement: To enrich and inspire the community by delivering a world-class park system that is safe, accessible, and facilitates a healthy and happy quality of life.

The Parks and Recreation Department is nationally accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The Department delivers quality of life services to all ages through active senior program, teen engagement programs, services for persons with disabilities, and youth-serving programs through seasonal camps, sports, learn-to-swim, and Science Technology Recreation Engineering Arts and Math (STREAM) programming. The Department continues to initiate health, wellness, and obesity prevention campaigns for City of Miami residents of all ages.

Contributing to the Administration’s Priority of Quality of Life, the Department provides 147 parks totaling more than 1,400 acres, 12 swimming pool facilities, 43 community centers, four gymnasiums, the Sandra DeLucca Developmental Center, the Little Haiti Cultural Center and Caribbean Marketplace, the Ichimura Japanese Garden, the Grapeland Water Park, and the Melreese Golf Course.

The Department also offers services at the Virginia Key mountain bike trails, walking trails, and beaches, as well as three natural areas designated as Natural Forest Communities that include a Visitor’s Center at Simpson Hammock Park, the Virginia Key 32-acre hammock restoration and interpretive trail, and the hammock at Alice Wainwright Park. The Department offers recreation and leisure opportunities that appeal to all interests and abilities and encourage a connection with the outdoors as well as an active and healthy lifestyle. Stakeholders include City residents and visitors to the City of Miami.

Our county parks are an essential resource for access to recreation and learning opportunities for all residents, especially our kids,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “I am thrilled that through this partnership and the generosity of USTA and First Serve Miami, the children of high-needs communities will soon enjoy the chance to learn and play the sport of tennis. Collaborative projects like this one create new outlets for youth, improve the health of our community, and nurture the next generation of leaders.”

Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces is proud to partner with the USTA and First Serve Miami to bring free tennis programs to underserved youth in Miami-Dade County,” said Parks Director Maria I. Nardi. “Together, we share a mutual commitment to provide youth with equitable access to recreation opportunities and to build a strong community and resilient individuals, through parks.”


Angie Rivera, First Serve Miami Executive Director at 305.871.4866 or

Cathy Nordlund, USTA FL Tennis Representative at 407.955.4890 or