The USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation is expanding its mission beyond "to develop the life skills of youth through tennis and education."
Founded in 1992 as the charitable arm of the USTA/Midwest Section, the USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation (formerly Midwest Youth Tennis & Education Foundation) has been supporting communities, programs and individuals to provide greater educational opportunities for youth. The Foundation places emphasis on programs and activities that provide youth with a positive, fun and disciplined environment to learn the game of tennis - and create alternatives to negative recreation. It also assists young players who have demonstrated talent, and are in need of financial support to compete at higher levels.
The USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation recently changed its name, and will expand its mission and reach starting in 2017 to include specific adult populations including Adaptive Tennis, Wheelchair Tennis, and Wounded Warriors.
Using tennis as the vehicle, youth are not only learning a lifetime sport but also about leadership, discipline, sportsmanship, healthy living and positive self-esteem - skills that not only help them on the court but throughout their lives. Adults will soon be included in this group of individuals not only learning about tennis but also life lessons.
The mission is currently carried out in four ways:
To provide tennis opportunities to all youth from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
To promote and develop youth tennis as an enjoyable, lifetime sport that contributes to good health, leadership, education, discipline, and builds self-esteem.
To support programs that focus on creating positive environments for at-risk youth.
To help youth reach their highest potential in tennis and education.
In the last year alone, more than 10,000 kids in the Midwest were able to learn how to play tennis for the first time. Many of these were at-risk youth who were introduced to tennis through National Junior Tennis League's summer programs and parks and recreation centers in Midwest communities. The Foundation also helped promising young players compete in sectional and national tournaments. It also awarded two Tim & Tom Gullikson college scholarships, two Hooked on Tennis college scholarships, one Rick Van Horn college scholarship , and one Richard Bradley Memorial college scholarship to deserving student athletes.