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/.