Volunteers from Northeast Tarrant Tennis League (NETT) hosted a play day for neighboring youth that involved engaged teaching and physical activity in a way that just felt like fun. Coinciding with Feed Our Kids Spring Break, the GRACE parking lot was transformed into a tennis court, lined with several nets, cones, and even hoola hoops for the creative types.
As a non-profit organization that has promoted the lifelong sport of tennis for 20 years, the leadership at NETT has had an increased interest in addressing the growing epidemic among inactive youth and bringing the love of the game to underserved populations.
When NETT President Melanie Devlin and her team recently discovered that today’s youth is the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, they knew that had to give back,
“We were shocked, and as parents saddened to think that this was our children’s generation,” said Devlin, “motivated to help change the inactive lifestyle of our children, we looked for opportunities [to serve] children who might not otherwise have access to the sport of tennis. GRACE has always had a large presence in our area providing support to at-risk children and their families. Partnering with GRACE allows us to reach these children and support GRACE.”
It was also important to the members of NETT to share their love of tennis with children who might not be as familiar with the sport. With so many neighboring public tennis courts in the area, tennis is surprisingly accessible, and offers the benefits of family cohesiveness, teamwork and physical activity. Studies show that youth who play tennis have better grades, are better behaved, and are more focused on community and higher education.
When asked what she hopes children can gain from the experience, Melanie responded by saying,” We want to help these children and their families enjoy physical activity. A racquet and a ball is all you really need to learn the sport. Tennis is unique in that it is truly a sport for life. Any age and level of fitness can learn and play tennis.”
Greater than the physical benefits was the level of engagement the volunteers had with the little athletes, who were beaming with energy. The enthusiasm a little support can give a child is contagious, “Watching them dive right in to a new activity is priceless. And those smiles…you can’t leave without having your mood lifted by these children. The response far exceeded our expectations!”
Thank you NETT for investing the well-being of our children and supporting GRACE!