October Newsletter

Consider a Gift for SPUT Kids During GiveMN, November 1-17

Early giving for Give to the Max Day is underway! Saint Paul Urban Tennis needs funding to keep our tennis and education programming free and low-cost for all Saint Paul families. With costs for youth sports rising and income inequality at an all-time high, now more than ever, we must create safe and fun spaces for low-income and historically excluded youth to flourish and have a sense of belonging. SPUT’s approach to youth sports is simple: We strive to make our tennis and educational programs available and accessible to all by providing scholarships and financial assistance to any family looking to participate. Additionally, funds donated to SPUT make it possible for us to employ and equip 70+ high school youth each year with career experience. Many youth — particularly girls, LGBTQ+ youth, youth of color, youth living in low-income communities, and youth with disabilities — face additional barriers to accessing quality sports opportunities. By making our programs free and low-cost, we make them accessible to all. SPUT’s goal is to raise $3,000 by November 17, 2022. Click here to donate to our Give MN Campaign or directly on our website.

Warrior Leadership Academy Kicks Off with a Weekend Retreat to Camp Ihduhapi

This past weekend, SPUT youth attended an outdoor leadership retreat at Camp Ihduhapi to kick off the 2022/2023 Warrior Leadership Academy season. Camp Ihduhapi specializes in helping kids of all backgrounds and abilities build integrity, self-reliance and leadership. Fourty youth attended the weekend-long retreat where they participated in fun challenges that put them outside their comfort zone. Activities included: the leap of faith, fire starting, archery, rock climbing, and more! All Warriors in attendance had a blast and are ready to kick off the WLA season with practice beginning November 4-6.

SPUT Continues to Serve the Community through Outreach Offerings

On October 20 and 21, during MEA break, SPUT partnered with Saint Paul Parks and Recreation to provide tennis Rec Check programming to youth across Saint Paul. The Rec Check program is a free after-school program for youth grades 1-5 provided at  recreation center locations across Saint Paul. This year, SPUT provided one-hour programming for FrogTown Community Center, Arlington Hills Community Center, Battle Creek Recreation Center, El Rio Vista Recreation Center, and West Minnehaha Recreation Center. SPUT staff member, Ethan Thao, used the hour-long lesson to introduce youth to tennis and play fun interactive tennis games. Did you miss out on SPUT’s Rec Check program during MEA? Don’t worry; SPUT will offer Rec Check programming at recreation centers across Saint Paul during SPPS Winter Break from December 19-23 and December 26-30.

Employment PLUS Youth are Back in Action

The Employment PLUS program is back for the 2022-2023 school year. SPUT has employed seven students to complete college/career preparedness assignments, learn digital literacy, gain business experience by operating the concession stand at the Eastview Recreation Center and help SPUT with various projects. Employment PLUS youth report to Cha Lee Yang, SPUT’s newest employee. Cha Lee looks forward to taking the students on college and business visits and helping them prepare for their futures in the coming months.

Open Gym Update from Eastview Manager Vilai Vang

The Eastview Recreation Center has been brimming with Eastside youth utilizing our facility this fall. With winter nearing, the SPUT staff took the initiative of setting up volleyball nets in the gym, and the results have been outstanding. On average, the Eastview Recreation Center sees 30 youth taking advantage of the open gym hours every evening, Monday through Friday. The outdoor spaces on site have also been utilized for football and soccer in the evenings. As colder temperatures set in, we want to remind the Eastview Community that an adult must accompany children under 10 for them to utilize our facilities.

Employee Feature: Meet Cha Lee Yang!

Chalee Yang, a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, joined the team full-time in September 2022. After spending his first summer with SPUT coaching in our summer youth program, Chalee emerged as a full-time candidate for SPUT’s Warrior Leadership Academy and Employment Plus Program Coordinator position. Chalee attended High School at Park Center Senior High School in Brooklyn Park and obtained a Psychological Science degree from Gustavus in 2022. Before beginning this position, Chalee aided his family’s farming business and served as the manager of the Thursday Farmers Market in Brooklyn Center. When asked what he loves most about SPUT, Chalee acknowledged his love for working with you. “I love that I get to work with students ranging from elementary to high school. Serving this position, I not only can impact the lives of youth, but they impact me as well.” In his free time, Chalee enjoys spending time with friends, playing tennis and volleyball, and going on runs.

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