NYJTL Recognized as FIRST National Sports Organization of Character

New York Junior Tennis & Learning becomes a national leader in character development education and practices with its certification and partnership with Character.org.  NYJTL is the largest youth tennis and education non-profit in the nation and serves children in all five boroughs in New York City.  With this certification, NYJTL becomes one of two organizations in the nation to be recognized as a Sports Organization of Character.

The certification is awarded after a lengthy eight part approval process, a comprehensive understanding of the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, and a commitment to on-going site visits from Character.org.  “At Character.org, we are extremely proud of the inaugural group of National Sports Organizations of Character.  Their dedication to character development has proven over time to increase the well-being of so many young people, their families and their communities,” said Doug Karr, Character.org’s President & CEO.

“The partnership between Character.org and NYJTL was organic in nature as NYJTL’s mission statement is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court,” said George Guimaraes, NYJTL President & CEO.  This certification validates NYJTL’s character development initiatives and serves as national model to be replicated for like-minded organizations.   The First Tee shares the honor with NYJTL as the only other organization to be recognized and certified.

Zeroing in with laser focus, NYJTL has defined its vision to enable youth to “Grow with the Game”.  As part of an impact measurement study conducted over the last 18 months, NYJTL has determined that life skills learned through tennis and education are the catalyst for long-term achievement.  Recognizing that character development and healthy living play a major role in development, the organization has looked to expand its resources, knowledge base, and offerings to NYC youth.

“Tennis is our tool to build life-changing social, academic and career networks, giving children the best chance for individual growth and success. We are weaving a character-driven mission, core values and a caring community structure throughout our initiatives. Through comprehensive, meaningful and positive youth engagement strategies, NYJTL builds character in under-resourced youth living in the most challenging neighborhoods in New York City for a lifetime of success on and off the court,” said Jessica Kruskamp, NYJTL Chief Education Officer.

New York Junior Tennis & Learning has served as a leader in grass roots tennis instruction in New York City with over 45 years of continuous service.  Early this year to enrich its educational offerings, NYJTL partnered with First Book to distribute over 6,000 developmental level books to its student athletes as part of its ongoing commitment to assist long term growth and achievement.

About NYJTL:

The mission of New York Junior Tennis & Learning is to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court.  Since 1971, NYJTL has changed lives through tennis, education, healthy living, and character development programs.  Today, it is the largest youth tennis and education non-profit in the nation, reaching 75,000 K-12 New York City youth.

In June 2015, the $26.5 million Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning opened its doors as the flagship home of NYJTL in the heart of the South Bronx.  In April 2017, the Center completed its final phase of construction and opened the Pershing Square Stadium, the Victor Kiam Stadium, and the Dalia and Larry Leeds Viewing Bridge.  The Cary Leeds Center provides more than 6,000 hours of free tennis court time annually to the community’s underserved youth.

NYJTL celebrates the diversity of the children who participate in every program, providing 3,000,000 hours of year-round programming that serves youth from all five boroughs.  All NYJTL community tennis and afterschool programs are offered at no cost to its participants.

About Character.Org:

Founded in 1993, Character.org, is a national non-profit based in Washington, D.C. The mission of the organization is to provide leadership and advocacy for character worldwide.  It is dedicated to help people everywhere become educated, inspired and empowered to be ethical and compassionate citizens.  Charcater.org validates character initiatives in schools, sports, families and the workplace through certifications and sharing best practices.  Results of effective character initiatives in schools typically include improved academic achievement, a decline in behavioral problems and an increase in an overall positive school climate.

Character education is an approach to organizational culture and climate improvement that supports the social, emotional and ethical development of young people.  It is the proactive and intentional efforts by schools, districts, communities and states to help young people develop important core ethical (recognizing what’s right) and performances (doing what’s right) values such as caring, honesty, diligence, fairness, fortitude, responsibility, grit, creativity, critical thinking and respect for self and others.