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Yeadon Friends 4 Tennis Sponsors Trip to Arthur Ashe Kids Day at U.S. Open

For Immediate Release
August 15, 2012

Yeadon Friends 4 Tennis Sponsors Trip to Arthur Ashe Kids Day at U.S. Open

45 lucky participants in the Yeadon Friends 4 Tennis program will be heading to the U. S. Open in Flushing, NY on Saturday, August 25

Roy Hunter, Director of Recreation for Yeadon Borough, is a former Physical Education teacher who said he was he was drawn to tennis because tennis is a lifetime sport. Other sports like football or basketball can only be played for a certain amount of time especially professionally, but tennis can be played for the duration of your life. Unlike other sports, you can play and learn tennis as an adult. In fact, Yeadon Mayor Jones-Butler only became interested in the sport in recent years as a spectator and held a tennis racquet for the first time three years ago.

Three years ago Mayor Jones-Butler was approached by Jeffrey Harmon, a tennis instructor originally from Liberia, West Africa. Mr. Harmon is the Founder and CEO of the Intergenerational Community Program founded to help resolve tensions between African-American and newly immigrated youth stemming from cultural differences. Throughout the years, friction between the two groups escalated. Mr. Harmon thought that tennis would be an ideal way to ease tensions and begin a dialog of understanding. He created the Community Integration Program as a means to unite the two groups. With the approval of Yeadon Borough Council, Mr. Harmon rehabbed the long dormant tennis courts and brought tennis back to Yeadon. Mr. Harmon wanted to reward his students with a trip to the Arthur Ashe Day at the U.S. Open and needed help in identifying sponsors to cover the costs of bus rental for the trip. Enter Mayor Jones-Butler. With just a week before the departure date, Mayor Butler was successful in gaining the support of Yeadon Borough Council who underwrote the cost of the bus. Along with the children making that trip that day , Mayor Butler found out what “this tennis thing” was all about, and she has been a proponent ever since.

The Yeadon Junior Tennis program is sponsored by Yeadon Friends 4 Tennis and is a fully revenue neutral program; the program is sponsored completely by gifts and donations. The summer program is open to youths from ages 6-14 and utilizes the U. S. Tennis Association’s QuickStart program. Using age-appropriate equipment and courts scaled to size for younger players makes tennis accessible and fun younger bodies.

The summer program is divided into 3 three week sessions, held Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At just $25 per session each student received nine three-hour lessons provided by some of the best tennis instructors in our area. Yeadon was able to offer world class tennis instruction for just $2.77 per 3 hour lesson. The Yeadon Junior Tennis program counts among its instructors, longtime resident Louis Boling, who attended college on a tennis scholarship and serves as Assistant Varsity Tennis Coach for Haverford College Women’s Tennis Team. Mr. Bolling participated in his first international tennis tournament in Morocco at the age of 14. Shortly after graduating from Morgan State University, Bolling landed a position working with youth and tennis development programs overseas in Johannesburg. Another coach is Dr. Ann Koger, Athletic Director of Haverford College, who in the 1960s became the first African-American to win the Maryland State Tennis Championships in the three different Junior Girls’ age divisions winning one title at just 13 years old.

Yeadon Tennis 4 You counts among its supporters: The United States Tennis Association/Middle States Tennis Association, which provided equipment, and Bernard Chavis who has provided countless trophies, racquets, t-shirts and caps. Mr. Chavis, is the first African American to serve as President of the USTA Philadelphia Area Tennis District and is also the CEO of the Black Professional Tennis Players Association of Philadelphia.

Forty-five students have participated in the 2012 Summer Tennis program and in addition to their Monday Wednesday and Friday sessions the students also participate in the Community Integration Program every Tuesday Thursday and Saturday. These youngsters are practicing and playing tennis six days a week! Of the 45 core group of children, 22 are girls who said that they have been inspired by Dr. Ann Koger. In addition to the field trip to the U. S. Open, they also attended a World Team Tennis match at Villanova University featuring the Philadelphia Freedom.

Mayor Jones-Butler is looking forward to the next phase of her big dream: the completion of a state-of-the-art Recreation Center that will accommodate indoor and outdoor tennis. The new rec facility will be built the six-acre tract of land that was once home to the Yeadon Swim Club. Remaining confident that funding will be made available for the facility, Mayor Butler issued her $11,000 challenge.

“There are 11,000 residents in Yeadon Borough,” Butler said. “If each resident gave one dollar and then asked 10 of their friends to each donate one dollar, and if those ten friends reached out to ten of their network Yeadon would raise $1,100,000” That is really something to think about.

To become a supporter of Yeadon Friends 4 Tennis, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-4-Tennis-in-Yeadon/147405568682468

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