Learning life lessons through tennis

Learning life lessons through tennis

Photo credit: New HYTEs
New Haven is a great city for tennis. Besides playing host to the Connecticut Open professional tournament, the Elm City has many well-maintained public courts. New Haven Youth Tennis and Education, otherwise known as New HYTEs, is working to make sure that kids from underserved neighborhoods not only have access to this life-long sport, but also thrive on and off the court. 

 
“Tennis is a sport about resilience, about being able to rely on yourself. The amount of pride that comes to student athletes through a sport can have a ripple effect throughout their entire life,” said New HYTEs Executive Director Mavi Sanchez. 

New HYTEs delivers several programs, including an after school education and mentoring program, summer clinics, and a competitive team. The after school program, Tennis Education and Mentoring (TEaM), selects 40 student athletes between ages of 6-12 from low-income neighborhoods. For no cost, the kids engage in academic and character-building projects in addition to learning tennis skills and playing the game. 

“The goal is to be able to engage our children through all of the healthy benefits of tennis and the other qualities of sportsmanship and etiquette, things you can take off the court and apply to everyday life, said Sanchez. 

New HYTEs recently hired an academic director to create a strong academic curriculum and is looking to expand into additional schools. The ultimate goal, Sanchez said, is to support the youth participants all the way through college.

To support its mission, New HYTEs receives equipment and facilities resources from the Connecticut Open Tournament and funding from private donors, foundations including the U.S. Tennis Association Foundation, and the airline Emirates. 

In The Great Give® 2016, New HYTEs received nearly $3,000, including funds from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

In addition to TEaM, New HYTEs collaborates with the city parks department to run summer clinics and with the public schools to deliver tennis instruction through physical education programs. 

“We have an incredible city in terms of tennis facilities,” Sanchez said. “To not see children on them . . . it should not be.” 

For more information about this organization, please visit New HYTEs profile on giveGreater.org. 

Did you know? 

Playing regular tennis is associated with positive health benefits including improved aerobic fitness, a leaner body, lower cholesterol, improved bone health, improved mental focus, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. British Journal of Sports Medicine

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

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