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11/30/2017 » 12/1/2017
ORPA Board Retreat

3/9/2018
Drysiders

LatinX Family Tennis Night a Smashing Success in North Portland
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Written By Patrick Miller

It’s a Friday night in June and the courts at St. John’s Racquet Center (SJRC) in North Portland, Ore., are packed. Voices speaking Spanish and laughter echo throughout the building and you can see love for a new sport blooming right in front of you. It is evident in the eyes of the 6-year-old learning how to hit a forehand with a foam ball and in the smile of his mom playing one court over, who is picking up a racket for the first time in her life.

Thanks to a grant from United States Tennis Association (USTA) Diversity and Inclusion, Portland Tennis & Education (PT&E), a non-profit that supports under-served youth and their families in Portland, was able to offer six weeks of free tennis clinics for community members in North Portland, with a special focus on the LatinX community. These clinics came to be known as “Jugamos Juntos” (We Play Together) nights. PT&E offered professional-level coaching in both English and Spanish, provided equipment and free court time for tennis players of all ages and experience levels.

A few of the people who made Jugamos Juntos possible including (from left) long time PT&E supporters Adriana Caliri and Marco Baas, Jorge Fuenmayor, Danice Brown, Bill Leong, Ian Symmonds , and PT&E coaches Drake Little and Vu Bui. 

 

Over the six weeks, Jugamos Juntos drew well over 100 community members to the SJRC. The event was run in conjunction with PT&E’s community partner, Portland Parks and Recreation, which owns the facility. These clinics culminated on June 23 with a night of games, prizes and delicious food as a part of convivio (potluck). Special guests Ian Symmonds, of Ian Symmonds & Associates,  and Jorge Fuenmayor, of Nike, spoke to the crowd and shared their experiences with tennis and what the sport had done for them. Bill Leong, USTA Director–Diversity & Inclusion, and Miguel Garcia, Capacity Building Consultant for the USTA Foundation, were also in attendance for this festive evening.

After spending a couple of hours on the court and indulging in the delicious homemade food, the tennis players were given one final surprise. Before they could leave the party everyone received a T-shirt designed by students from PT&E and a free racket to continue to enjoy and develop their tennis game!

The Jugamos Juntos Friday family tennis clinics have come to a close, yet PT&E will continue to offer low-cost tennis opportunities for this newly formed tennis community. Jugamos Juntos family members were invited to return for free “family tennis nights" in late July and August. All the younger players were invited to attend the annual #returntheserve tennis play day on July 14 and other free play days. The tennis roots that had been planted earlier this summer continue to grow.

   

(Right)Some of our youngest players working on their shots.  (Left) Angela with the wicked forehand as her husband looks on.

 

For further information on how to learn about doing similar programs at your site please contact Brian Loomis, USTA Public Parks National Volunteer 503-548-3363.


Oregon Recreation & Park Association
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