NJTL of Indianapolis History
Arthur Ashe co-founded the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) in 1969 with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder. Their vision was to “use tennis as a way to gain and hold the attention of young people…so that we can teach them about matters more important than tennis…Through tennis, lives can be changed and spirits reclaimed.”
During the summer of 1969, Indianapolis resident and tennis patron, Barbara S. Wynne, started an inner-city tennis program at Riverside Park for Indianapolis youth. Four years later, the “Riverside Upswing” program became the Indianapolis chapter of NJTL. NJTL of Indianapolis strives to teach children Ashe’s ideals and the impact he made on the world so that they may carry on his legacy.
Youth Tennis Programs
Mission: NJTL of Indianapolis seeks to develop the character of young people from all backgrounds through tennis, life skills, educational enrichment, and healthy living choices.
Vision: Through the game of tennis, young people are educated and empowered to become successful citizens their entire lives.
Values Statement: NJTL of Indianapolis programs support our core values including:
- Honesty and Integrity
- Healthy Lifestyles
- Reading and Education
- Family Involvement
- Volunteers, Partners and Community
NJTL of Indianapolis offers youth tennis programs throughout the year for children and teens, regardless of family income levels. Programs are open to everyone who wants to play and learn. NJTL will never turn a child away due to financial circumstances.
NJTL strives to keep children healthy and active. The program serves as a foundation from which to build self-esteem, encourage youth interest in physical activity and foster a lifelong love of the sport of tennis. NJTL of Indianapolis:
- Provides various educational opportunities through reading programs and contests.
- Offers assistance in entering the national Arthur Ashe Essay Contest.
- Promotes a healthy lifestyle through WFYI’s “5-2-1-0 Countdown to Health.”
- Encourages tennis students to participate in our “Love to Read” program, a summer reading contest.
- Teaches life skills such as being a team player, embracing fitness, and resolving conflict.
NJTL of Indianapolis serves more than 1,350 children in Marion County every year by offering low-cost tennis lessons at more than 15 local parks, schools, and racquet clubs. Since its inception NJTL has offered tennis instruction to more than 50,000 children.
It costs NJTL of Indianapolis approximately $150 for each student enrolled in our tennis programs. However, nearly all participants pay $60 or less – less than half our cost! – thanks to the generosity of foundations, corporations and individual donors.
- In the 2015 National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, NJTL of Indianapolis player Zoe Kelley was the USTA/Midwest Section Girls 11/12 winner.
- In the 2015 National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, NJTL player Colston Streit was named the National Arthur Ashe Essay winner for Boys 13/14.
- In the 2015 National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, NJTL of Indianapolis player Arriya Arif was the USTA/Midwest Section Girls 10U winner.
- In the 2015 National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, NJTL of Indianapolis player Tait Owens was the USTA/Midwest Section Boys 10U winner.
- In the 2014 National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, NJTL of Indianapolis player Gabby Blamey was the USTA/Midwest Section Girls 10 and Under winner.
- In the 2013 National Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, NJTL had 5 USTA/Midwest Section essay winners: Alex Payne, Andrew Brown, Jingyu Xiao, Haley Card, and Ashlynn Ballard.
- In July 2012, NJTL participant Rebecca Richey was named a national Arthur Ashe Essay winner.
- In June 2012, NJTL participant Michelle Coe was selected to attend the USTA/NJTL Tennis Leadership Camp in Minneapolis, MN.
- In 2011, NJTL instructor Katie Felix won an Excellence in Summer Service Education Award. This award recognizes exemplary youth work and community service.
- NJTL of Indianapolis was named the USTA/Midwest 2010 NJTL of the Year award winner.
- In 2010, NJTL staff member Mandy Walker won an Excellence in Summer Service Education Award.
- In the 2010 National Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest, NJTL had 4 USTA/Midwest Section essay winners: Luke Brown, Marissa Driml, Jessica Mendoza, and Chris Mormino. NJTL also had a national art winner: Lauren Kenninger.
- NJTL of Indianapolis was named the USTA/Midwest 2009 NJTL of the Year award winner.
- In the 2009 National Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest, NJTL had 4 USTA/Midwest Section essay winners: Colt Hackstadt, Lauren Hedges, Breonna Ledford, and Dee Slagle.
- In 2009, NJTL instructor Kailee Grabbe won an Excellence in Summer Service Education Award.
- NJTL of Indianapolis was named NJTL National Chapter of the Year in 2008 for being an outstanding leader in excellence and continued dedication to youth development through tennis. This award was given by the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
- In November 2008, NJTL was recognized as an honorable mention candidate for an Indiana Achievement Award for Nonprofit Excellence.
- On September 11, 2008, three NJTL instructors won an Excellence in Summer Service Education Award.
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