“Raise your hand if this was your first time ever playing tennis,” Coach Danny asked as we wrapped up our first session of Friday Night Tennis at Purchase College. “Raise your hand if you hit a forehand today,” Coach Danny continued. Almost every hand went up in the air accompanied by tall, proud shoulders and a warm smile.
For a typical youth sports program, if the program is not running, those families will find similar programming somewhere else. For our Friday Night Tennis and many other Backyard Sports Cares programs, if our program is not running, there are no other options.
Every Friday night from May 7th to June 11th, we are joined by 35+ children ages 6-14 years old at Purchase College who would otherwise not have an opportunity to play tennis. With the help of our wonderful community partners and friends at the Carver Center (Port Chester) and various local schools in White Plains and New Rochelle, our attendance has been tremendous.
Each session, players are split up among six beautiful outdoor courts and given their own racket. In addition to Backyard Sports staff, every court is assigned a local tennis professional and a high school or college age volunteer to run age-appropriate skills & drills and games with the kids. Not only are the kids improving and gaining confidence each week, but they are also laughing, having fun and making new friends with no burden of cost for the families.
In the words of the all-time tennis great Arthur Ashe, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” We are so grateful to be able to share something that we love to do right here in our own “backyard” at Purchase College.