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Tennis and Education


((PKG)) TENNIS CHANGING LIVES
((Banner: Tennis Changes Lives))
((Reporter:
Faiza Elmasry))
((Camera:
Adam Greenbaum))
((Adapted by:
Philip Alexiou))
((Map:
Washington, D.C.))
((NATS))

((Andrea Nichelson, 4th Grade Program Participant))

I’m 10 years old. I’ve been coming here for seven years. The thing I like most about tennis is the game. It really gets my attention than anything that I do, just brings up the fire in me.

((NATS))
And, back hand crosscourt.
((Rebecca Crouch-Pelham, President, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))
Ironically, the goals for the organization have changed over time. It started off as the Washington Tennis Patrons, and then it transitioned into the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, as the group of individuals who, kind of, founded the organization, saw a need for this type of work for inner city schools and kids who live in inner city. So, over time, it actually transformed to what we have today, which is an organization that provides a rare combination of tennis and education to underserved communities in D.C.
((NATS))
((Audra Bell, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))

A lot of times we go get them from school and bring them here. They do half their time doing homework and they spend time with tutors.

((Courtesy still: Washington Tennis and Education Foundation))

((Audra Bell, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))

We have a robotics program, a girls’ group. The kids are transformed whenever they commit and they learn discipline and they learn mental toughness and all the things that tennis teaches you as a whole. It’s really amazing to see.

((NATS))
((Rebecca Crouch-Pelham, President, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))

You’re on the court. You’re playing singles. You’re by yourself. You’re relying on yourself. That is absolutely the exact same stamina and kind of resilience that our kids need in the classroom. We use it as the hook. They love it. They come everyday. They play tennis, but we also expect them to excel academically. We also have two pros here that grew up in the program and now they work here full time as tennis coaches.

((NATS))
Beautiful! Ebony, and you’ve been complaining about that serve?
((NATS))
((Mike Ragland, Director, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))

I was doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, got myself in a lot of trouble. When I started playing tennis, it gave me a different path to life.

((NATS))
Dante, watch that ball.

((Mike Ragland, Director, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))
When they called and said that they were building this facility, they wanted someone to come back that came up through the program. I wanted to give back. We take the kids in. We talk to the kids about life, how to carry themselves, how to behave, and give them a structure, something that they can go forward with.
((NATS))
Oh, yeah!

((Mike Ragland, Director, Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) ))
Most of the kids don’t have a male figure in their lives. What I bring to them is like the father figure, like the father of the Center here.

((NATS))
((Xxavir Boone, 12th Grade Program Participant))

It teaches you just to, kind of, push through life. Everyone here is doing very well in school, and that's just all thanks to the tutors and the teachers that we have here.

((NATS))
Looking good! Good.

((Xxavir Boone, 12th Grade Program Participant))

Tennis teaches you not to give up because anything can happen during a match. It’s never, ‘Oh, my opponent has this many points. I can’t come back now.’ That’s not true at all. You can come back from almost any deficit in tennis. So, it teaches you not to give up. Life is one of the hardest things that you’re going to have to go through. So, it’s important to know that, you know, you might be down right now, but you can always pick it up sooner or later.

((NATS))

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