The SPUT Outreach Program:
Tennis In The Streets
We'll bring tennis to any site that has an open space for us to set up mini-tennis nets. In past years, these spaces have included parking lots, dirt fields, and yes, even dead-end streets.
We search out partners that share our desire to provide at-risk youth in St. Paul with positive and active programming. We typically seek out apartment complexes and low-income housing developments for these programs but also consider the potential impact with like-minded non-profit partners and school programs. To inquire about the potential for partnership, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No courts, no problem
How is it possible? We bring the courts, nets, racquets and tennis balls with us! By using specially designed tennis equipment, we are able to create temporary tennis courts practically anywhere a ball bounces.
These temporary courts allow our instructors to introduce tennis to children that have never been exposed to it before, and even more importantly, and more fun for the kids, is the fact that they actually get to play real games and compete with other children in their neighborhood.
Children love to play games; much more then they like to sit in lines and wait their turns--these specially built tennis courts allowed children to actually compete, keep score, and have real competition. This competition helps children learn valuable life-skills, including, sportsmanship, teamwork, patience, concentration, focus, along with basic physical skills like agility, balance and coordination.
Integrating tennis & education for low-income kids
Over 25% of children in St. Paul live in poverty. This is a concern for all of us. Our target for these outreach programs is this demographic, ages 5 - 12. And while tennis is our hook, it's not all the only thing we offer. We care about setting these kids up for success and integrate ABC's and 123's into activities using a patent pending formula of lettering and numbering balls. We also incorporate daily life lessons that focus on character development and nutrition. But, we are talking about kids here and any parent can attest to the fact that kids NEED play and activity in their lives just as much as discipline and academics.
So, they get it all...play, fun, fitness, academics, and life skills. That's the SPUT way! It's the perfect mix as recent studies show that kids living in poverty not only are at-risk of falling behind in school, these neighborhoods also have a disproportionate percentage of people that are obese. Tennis and education programs can be the solution!
No lecturing--learning through stories and application
Instead of lecturing to the children, the SPUT instructors tell stories about other kids who have learned the value of giving back, or the value of eating well or how anything can be accomplished through a positive attitude and hard work.
Each day, kids are also asked to complete an at-home task so that lessons enter the home environment. For example, one night their homework might be to choose water instead of reaching for a soda or a snack of fruit and veggies instead of potato chips. Kids report back with their own stories of success and are rewarded with SPUT Bucks to spend in the SPUT Store as an incentive to complete assignments. All homework assignments tie into the important themes of health & wellness or follow our SPUT SPIRIT life skills curriculum.
Tennis equipment donations
Upon conclusion of our outreach programs, we often leave product behind so that kids can continue to play on the free tennis courts across the city! Contrary to the images portrayed in the movies of tennis as a country club sport, tennis is very affordable while the MN weather cooperates.
All program costs covered by SPUT!
Grant awards and individual donations allow SPUT to cover all costs associated with our outreach efforts to low-income communities. As demand for these programs continues to grow, we continually seek financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations. To learn more about contributing, please contact us or click our DONATE NOW button to make a secure online donation today.