NYJTL launches afterschool programming at 34 schools across New York City

Nonprofit provides students with a range of academic and wellness services; mental health support expands to additional sites this fall— 

All sites to participate in Banned Book Week activities highlighting the benefits of free and open access to all books— 

Starting Monday, September 19, New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL), the largest nonprofit youth tennis and education program in the nation, is launching its free afterschool programming at 34 sites across New York City, offering students in under-resourced neighborhoods additional academic, enrichment and health and wellness support. 

The afterschool program, ACES Afterschool (ACES), takes place at elementary and middle schools (and one high school) in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Queens. Operating from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily, ACES serves as a nurturing retreat for more than 3,000 students who need additional support after school hours.  

ACES is funded through the Department of Youth and Community Development and New York State Education Department, and offers a myriad of enriching opportunities for kids, including tennis instruction, academic support, healthy living, character education, and multi-disciplinary activities.  

“Our school-based after school programs offer year-round support to support the whole child,” said Jen Wohl, Chief Education Officer at NYJTL. “This includes everything from enrichment, tutoring, fitness, wellness, nutrition education, arts programs, character education, STEM, literacy activities, educational field trips, and access to city-wide tournaments. Every NYJTL program is rooted in character development and social learning.”  

Additionally, NYJTL has expanded its mental health counseling to a number of additional schools – and even hired a full-time social worker – this season through a partnership with the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Graduate social work student interns at the College work with youth who are experiencing increased anxiety, depression and stress, encouraging young students to be open about their mental health challenges and seek out help when needed.  

“As the need for mental health support has grown during the pandemic, we needed to take a close look at how to adapt to meet the needs of those we serve, and this required incorporating mental health support to recognize the warning signs that students are struggling so we can connect them with services,” said Udai Tambar, President & CEO of NYJTL. “Opening up and being able to talk with an adult was only a first step; the next was connecting those who are struggling with resources, such as counseling.” 

Every participant in NYJTL programming receives 500 to 700 contact hours throughout the year at no cost to families. Through such educational enrichment programs, children reap the benefits of an accessible education: A study done by the TASC Research Team in 2014-15 reported that nearly 60% of participants increased their English and Math skills from the first to the final marking period.  

As students begin the afterschool programming this coming week, they will take part in activities highlighting Banned Book Week through activities – such as art contests – that promote awareness of the dangers of censorship in education. The programs will seek to highlight books that have been banned across the country and focus on the benefits of open access to all forms of literature.   

For more information about the programming, visit NYJTL’s website at https://www.nyjtl.org/aces-afterschool/ 

NYJTL and RALLY4EVER Join Forces to Bring Tennis and Mental Wellness to the Bronx

On Friday, August 26 New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) was joined by RALLY4EVER at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning for a tennis clinic. RALLY4EVER is a not-for-profit organization that aims to foster community connection through tennis, emphasizing the benefits of tennis for mental health and overall sense of well-being. The morning consisted of more than 100 children from across the Bronx joining NYJTL tennis coaches and RALLY4EVER CEO and former professional Australian tennis player, high-performance coach & grand slam commentator Louise Pleming to sharpen their tennis skills and create meaningful relationships through the sport.  

“I’ve always believed that through movement we can create connection and momentum to empower people, and what better way of doing it than through the game of tennis,” said RALLY4EVER CEO & founder Louise Pleming. “It’s such a privilege to be working alongside such an established organization that has helped so many young kids live out their dream of becoming professional tennis players.” 

“We are so excited to be partnering with RALLY4EVER,” says NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar. “The youth that we serve come from underprivileged communities across the city, so collaborations like this that underscore the importance of mental wellness are paramount to addressing the needs of our youth.” 

Many of the children who attended Friday’s event are from the South Bronx community, which is the poorest Congressional district in the nation. NYJTL’s core values include a deep commitment to mental wellness of the children its programs serve, especially as research shows that low levels of household income are associated with several lifetime mental disorders. The morning’s activities not only strengthened participants’ tennis skills, but also celebrated their resilience and bravery when approaching challenges on-court. This encouraged the children to maintain a positive mindset in the face of adversity and cheer each other on while trying new things- lessons the group brought off the court as well. The day concluded with a shared meal, and the kids left the tennis court with new skills, new friendships, and increased confidence when facing life’s challenges. 

Yonex and Racquet House Transform Rockefeller Center with NYJTL Youth

On Saturday, August 27, Racquet House and the renowned sports equipment company Yonex, invited 30 New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) players from the Intensive Training Program (ITP) to Rockefeller Center. Along with a day of on-court activities and drills and games off-court, the young tennis players were joined by Polish pro Hubert Hurkacz and Canadian pro Denis Shapovalov to improve their game.  See BizBash’s feature on this event in “US Open 2022: See Inside the Events and Activations That Made a Grand Slam” here

“We are so excited to provide this unique opportunity to play tennis with world-class players in the heart of New York City,” says NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar. “It is wonderful to see our kids inspired by renowned tennis stars while being equipped with high quality rackets during the special week of the US Open.” 

The iconic Rockefeller Center served as a striking backdrop as the young tennis players sharpened their tennis skills through a variety of dynamic warm-ups, a tennis clinic, point play, and other fun activities with tennis pros ahead of the US Open. Then, each of the participants were gifted with Yonex rackets, apparel, and accessories before playing for special prizes as well. The memorable day was deeply cherished by NYJTL’s young generation of future tennis stars, who went home with smiles after meeting their idols at this legendary site.  

ASICS and Italian Pro Matteo Berrettini Speak to NYJTL Participants About the Game of a Lifetime

On Friday, August 26 twenty participants from New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL)’s Community Tennis Program (CTP) gathered at the ASICS store in the Meatpacking District where they were joined by Italian professional tennis player Matteo Berrettini. Berrettini competes in the US Open this week, and before the start of the major Grand Slam event he spoke to our program participants on his personal journey in tennis, along with other anecdotes that inspired the group of NYJTL’s young tennis players. 

Among the motivational question and answer session, Berrettini shared accounts of how he practices before a major tournament, what he enjoys eating in preparation, how a crowd’s energy impacts his performance, and the ways he deals with the rigorous ranking system in tennis. Then, the participants were surprised with a gift of a $150 voucher to use on ASICS tennis shoes and apparel, along with a generous donation to NYJTL’s programs.  

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to connect our kids to professional tennis,” says NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar. “We are grateful to ASICS and Matteo Berrettini for motivating our children in this critical time ahead of the US Open.” 

This event joins the many ways in which NYJTL provides opportunities for NYC youth to engage with world-class professional tennis players, such as the free NYJTL Bronx Open that concluded the week prior. By meeting professional world-class players, NYJTL youth witness individuals who have displayed incredible perseverance and resilience to achieve their dreams, motivating them to do the same.  

Read NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar’s Op-ed in the Daily News

“As the need for mental health support has grown during the pandemic, New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) needed to take a close look at how to adapt to meet the needs of those we serve, and this required incorporating mental health support to recognize the warning signs that students are struggling so we can connect them with services.”

Read more of NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar and MSW Program Director at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter Caroline Gelman’s op-ed in the Daily News here.

The Winners of the NYJTL Bronx Open Are In!

Congratulations to our tournament champions!

The Kids Clinics Were a Success!

Thank you to everyone who attended the NYJTL Bronx Open youth tennis clinics! NYJTL served hundreds of families throughout the week. Learn more about the fun in the news clips below.

Thank You, Ball Kids!

The NYJTL ball kids were the real stars of the tournament and are all NYJTL program participants. They have been a wonderful help during the tournament, and had the opportunity to meet professional players! Thank you!

Watch Us on the News!

Thank you ABC, NBC, PIX11, and NY1 for covering our tournament! To view the segments and more coverage, click here.

Supporters Make This Work Possible

Thank you to USTA Eastern for its tremendous support and our tournament hero, Larry Leeds!

Visit the tournament’s webpage for more highlights!