Tennis event encourages youth
by Kathleen Lees
Sep 05, 2012 | 1064 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Watching her daughter hit the ball across the tennis court, Natahalie Pierre Lain proudly admits that all of her children are involved in the sport of tennis.

“Now I have a tennis club in my house,” she jokes.

Originally from France, Pierre Lain said when she moved to the U.S. in 2005, she started taking her children to lessons with the New York Junior Tennis League & Learning, an organization founded in 1971 by Arthur Ashe that provides free tennis lessons for New York's youth.

Pierre Lain was one of several parents at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills on Labor Day that met with the Anquilla Tennis Association to play two hours of tennis and enjoy lunch and swimming at the facility.

The Anguilla Tennis Academy, founded in 1996 by Mitch Lake, is a non-profit organization that provides year-round tennis training to Anguillian children. Three children from each organization came to the event.

Since the club opened in 1892, it has been the former host of the U.S. Open and currently maintains 38 courts on four different surfaces. USB Financial Services sponsored the event for the two organizations, also giving the Anguilla Tennis Academy the chance to watch this year's US Open.

Coach and Senior Tennis Program Manager of the NYJTL York Chu emphasized the importance of building confidence with the sport.

“Tennis involves all aspects of your life,” Chu said, who stressed the positive impact it can have on academic performance and organizational skills. “If you can get them interested in tennis at a young age, they'll do everything pretty well.”

Steven Schott, director of Capital Funding for NYJTL, also expressed his hopes for the future regarding youth involvement in tennis. “We're making a better world for everybody with the love and energy these kids have generated today,” Schott said, pointing out that these organizations helped make the sport accessible to people of all socioeconomic status.

Concluding the event with a lunch and a chance to go swimming, Annmarie Letang from the Anguilla Tennis Academy said she was proud of her 11-year-old daughter, Myisha, and her family's involvement in the sport. “I support these organizations for the good they're doing,” she said. “And our motto is 'the family that plays together, stays together.'”

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