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Texas’ Tennis Success Serves Up Physical, Mental Health For Kids

Photo Courtesy Tennis Success

Corpus Christi, Texas, nonprofit Tennis Success provides after-school tennis programs to low-income students. Founded in 2000, the organization offers coaching and tutoring at its facilities and through the Corpus Christi Independent School district. The program provides physical and mental health benefits for the students, on and off the court.

“We want to make them great human beings for their community,” Cher-ri Pena, Tennis Success executive director, told KRIS 6 News. “We want them to have the discipline tennis teaches them so they can reach their potential.”

Photo Courtesy Tennis Success 

For the nonprofit, the game of tennis is just part of the work. The Tennis Success emphasizes the importance of education and places it ahead of playing tennis. To support students’ achievements in the classroom, Tennis Success has homework help, tutoring, and scholarship assistance with support from staff and volunteers on-site, ensuring all participating students have access to educational tools needed for success in the classroom. 

In addition to the heavy focus on academics, Tennis Success hopes that the after-school physical activity of playing on the courts will help students get their frustrations out and build communication skills. The free program is available at the Tennis Success Community Courts and Center to children, grades three to 12, who qualify for free or reduced lunch through their schools.

The nonprofit also has a program at select elementary and middle schools in the Corpus Christi Independent School district for up to 30 students at each of those campuses. 

“We are here because tennis is so expensive, and we wanna give them [students] an outlet that maybe they don’t see otherwise,” Peña said to 3 News. 

By focusing on how classroom and court success can complement each other, the organization hopes to build scholastically strong scholar-athletes. In fact, several Tennis Success students have gone on to play tennis in college.

Photo Courtesy Tennis Success 

“We work with kids who not only can’t afford tennis, but a lot of them as well come from a hard life,” Pena told 3 News. “Some parents aren’t taking care of them; some of them are staying with their aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and so they come with this extra baggage that some of us can probably relate to. To guide them not only on the court but everyday life — you see the change. You see the anger go away.” 

According to the Tennis Success website, the organization is also a recognized National Junior Tennis & Learning Chapter under the umbrella of the Corpus Christi Tennis Association

Photo Courtesy Tennis Success

“It just gives me something to look forward to during the day and just gives you a nice way to end your day with,” Patrick Fenner, Tennis Success participant, said to 3 News.

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