By Karen Ronney
It has been a busy year for the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation in providing more than $500,000 of support in grants, scholarships, sponsorships and assistance for players of all ages and organizations in under-served areas. Join us on Giving Tuesday to forge ahead and continue to make an impact in 2022.
Our mission of Changing Lives and Communities Through Tennis has been focused on low imcome communities, youth education, National Junior Tennis & Learning programs (NJTL), scholarships for promising junior players, people with disabilities, wheelchair tennis, seniors, beginning adult programs, veterans, tournaments and special events. All donations are directed toward these areas and 100% of all gifts benefit the recipients. On this #GivingTuesday, your financial support will make a huge difference. To donate: CLICK HERE or Text-to-Give at TENNISACE to 501-55 and connect to the donation form.
Here is a look back at some of our success stories:
Tory Bailey Jr, 18, learned to play tennis in National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) classes at the Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program in Los Angeles. He received help from that organization, as well as several scholarships and grants from the SCTA Foundation. He is now realizing his dream to play college tennis at Howard University.
“The tennis village does exist, and you’ve helped guide his footsteps on the junior pathway to successful experiences,” said Bailey’s grandmother, Beverly Dawson. “Tory has worked hard to meet the challenges of education and the demands of tennis. Thank you for the continuous support of his junior tennis development.”
Denise Campbell, 17, received the Henry Talbert Summer Tennis Camp Scholarship Grant, which helped her get ready for her high school season. This fall, she became the Sunbelt League singles champion and was named the Most Valuable Player.
“Seeing a very buff, well trained opponent made me scared and I felt so intimidated,” Campbell said. “Yet, I won, and it took me a minute to realize I did it.”
Cecil Yusei, 14, comes from a long line of athletic distinction and he aspires to follow in his family’s footsteps. His grandfather, Dr. Bing Howell, was named to the 1969 All-America Team in track and field at Chapman University. His grand uncle, George Westerman, was a tennis champion from Panama. Another uncle, George Springer, is an American pro baseball outfielder, who just signed a six-year $150 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Yusei’s passion, however, is tennis and he received the Victor Stern Scholarship Grant to pursue that dream.
“I have never seen a young person with the drive, dedication and perseverance as my son,” said Yusei’s father, Cecil Howell Sr., a collegiate gymnast and semi-pro rugby player. “He lives and breathes tennis, constantly watching matches and reads books to sharpen his tennis IQ. He also participates in local & USTA tournaments.”
SCTA Foundation support also came in the form of providing new tennis rackets and equipment to Under-10 players, high school competitors and beginning 2.5 adult league players. Also the Foundation recognized outstanding sportsmanship in players of all ages and levels.
“Good sportsmanship leads to a nice hand shake,” said 12 year-old Toby Edelson, who won a Yonex VCORE racket for being a good sport. “You should never hog the ball in doubles and never cheat. If you know the right score, never add a point or two to your own because that is the opposite of sportsmanship. It means being fair, respectful and courteous not only to my opponents but to my coaches, parents and officials.”
Kaila Barkesdale, 17, is a Kramer Futures Champions Grant Recipient. The two-time CIF San Diego Section singles champion is a senior at Westview High. She trains daily on the court and in her “home gym”. She was so determined to excel at tennis, her coach and father, USPTA Pro Keith Barkesdale, brought in light exercise equipment with weights to work out in their home. He oversees her progress to make sure she trains safely to build strength and overall fitness. Kaila, a blue chip athlete from TennisRecruiting.net, was proud to recently announce she will receive a full scholarship to play for the University of Utah in the fall 2022.
“Kaila has always been quietly driven,” said her father, Keith. “She loves playing tennis and is excited to take it to the next level. Getting a grant from the Foundation has really helped with travel, training and hitting sessions. We are grateful for alleviating some of the stress in helping Kaila fulfill her potential.”
Adaptive or wheelchair tennis blossomed this year with help from USPTA Elite Pro Dee Henry, also a Professor Emeritus and former women’s tennis coach at Biola University. She assisted with wheelchair tennis camps, classes, clinics and tournaments throughout Southern California.
“The SCTA Foundation has been very supportive and helped us with sponsorships, prizes and publicity,” said Henry, who also led an NJTL program for 17 years. “The Foundation provided wheelchairs for people who needed them. Without the chairs, these players would not have access to tennis. That has changed lives.”
Support to tennis organizations included sponsoring the San Diego Open Men’s ATP 250 professional tournament at Barnes Tennis Center. It’s brought amazing tennis to So Cal fans.
“The Foundation has helped us host some of the premier tennis events in the world, including the first ever ATP event,” said Ryan Redondo, the CEO of Barnes Tennis Center. “We are grateful for other types of help including a Hispanic Outreach Celebration for our After School Tennis program, sponsoring kids for our summer tennis camps and helping us renovate our clay courts. All of this ensures we can continue to build the game of tennis through our youth. We are so grateful for the support of the SCTA Foundation.”
Other highlights include supporting military organizations such as the San Diego Wounded Warriors, collegiate events in the San Diego Veteran’s Tennis Classic and USTA premier tournaments in the Easter Bowl and the Billie Jean King 16s & 18s National Championships.
Below is an SCTA Foundation impact overview.
- 40+ Scholarships for Kids’ Training, Camps, Equipment or Travel
- 21 Sportsmanship Awards For Kids with Gifts
- 10 Beginning Adult 2.5 League Players Received New Yonex VCORE Rackets
- 8 Community Grants for Programming and Supplies
- 7 Summer Camp Racket Packages for Under 10 Tennis
- 7 Tournament Sponsorships
- 4 Wheelchair Tennis Tournaments
- 3 Kids and Family Tennis Days
- 2 Autism Programs Grants and Funding
- 1 Wheelchair All-Comers Camp
- San Diego Open Men’s ATP 250: Sponsor
- San Diego Veterans Tennis Classic: Sponsor
- Hendrickson Wheelchair Tournament
- Billie Jean King 16s & 18s National Tournament
- Hispanic Heritage Kids Day
- USTA IOC Level 1
- USTA Easter Bowl National Tournament
- Second Serve: 60+ Rackets to High School Players in Need
- Youth Tennis San Diego: After School Tennis
- Morongo Tennis Basin Association – Free and Low Cost Lessons to Kids
- Barnes Tennis Center: After School Tennis, Renovate Clay Courts and Camps
“Seeing the happiness in kids’ faces when they get their first new tennis racket, win a tournament and make friends at tennis camps is the impact we want to make,” said SCTA Foundation Executive Director Linda Milan. “It gives them self-confidence and a positive outlook on life. More importantly, they are having fun and that’s the first step to make tennis a lifelong sport. Your donation will expand our reach so we can be more impactful to more people in Southern California.”
The SCTA Foundation thanks you for your support. To Donate CLICK HERE. In addition, we have a Text-To-Give option by texting TENNISACE to 501-55.
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TENNIS ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION
Our mission of Changing Lives and Communities through Tennis serves as a pathway to offer financial support to individuals and organizations. We are a 501©3 nonprofit organization and the charitable arm of USTA Southern California. We help people of all ages and abilities to improve their health, fitness and quality of life through the sport of tennis. Founded in 1986, the SCTA Foundation has offered a community impact of giving more than $500,000 this year through sponsorships, support, equipment, scholarships and grants to recipients throughout Southern California. To learn more about the SCTA Foundation, please go to sctafoundation.org. To donate CLICK HERE.