By Dev Jain
Former ATA champion and longtime tennis benefactor Arvelia Myers has passed away. As a giving and humble person, Myers used tennis as a release to come out of her shell and give back to her community. She first encountered tennis as she sat on the bench, watching her friends hitting balls with the round racquets. However, once Arvelia stepped foot on the courts, she never looked back.
She started to play in the New York City parks tournaments but due to her reclusive personality, she was not very competitive at first. But thanks to the people around Arvelia motivating her to reach her potential, she started playing in the ATA (American Tennis Association). Not only did Myers play well, at one point she would be ranked No.3 overall and won the ATA women’s national doubles title in 1973.
As great as she was on the tennis court, arguably her greatest achievements were off the playing surface. Tennis allowed for Myers to meet a number of people and build connections that she otherwise would not have. In 1973 Arvelia founded the Pyramid Tennis Association and influenced a number of the New York City youth. Myers taught kids the importance of having fun with the game while using tennis as a tool to build self-confidence in themselves. The intention was to instill belief in youth, particularly African Americans, that they could not only succeed in tennis but in life.
Furthermore, under Myers tutelage, she made sure that the real goal for the children was to receive a proper education. Arvelia was cognizant of the fact that not everyone can be a tennis champion but they can still be educated and gain a great deal with the sport.
The young people in the Pyramid Tennis Association receive tutoring and are made sure that their grades in school are satisfactory. All of this is part of Myers’ plan to ensure that each student gets the chance to get a good college education.
In addition to the Pyramid Tennis Association, Arvelia worked with a number of other programs in the city as she served as a role model and mentor for thousands of kids. Myers was one of the most loyal USTA volunteers as she would man booths every year at Flushing Meadows to spread the word to thousands of tennis fans every year.
As an inspiration to us all, Arvelia devoted her life to helping everyone she possibly could with the help of tennis. She used tennis as a foundation to give back after the game had given so much to her. She will be missed deeply by the tennis community. A memorial in her honor is planned for December 9, 2017, 12 pm at Mt Morris, Ascension Presbyterian Church, 15, Mt Morris Park West, NY.
Kamau Murray’s XS Tennis teams with Clinton Foundation
By Editorial Team
Kamau Murray keeps a tight calendar in the midst of coaching a top ranked WTA pro player (Sloane Stephens), managing a non-profit (XS Tennis & Education Foundation) and maybe now local politics. Chicago has been the basis for major overhaul recently as colleges and universities from around the nation pull resources together to held rebuild the neglected South Side streets of Chicago as part of the Clinton Global Initiative University.
XS Tennis Village provided meals to those in need as a alternative site for helping rebuild the community. When asked about the initiative, Chelsea Clinton stated, “We need to give something back and I hope they will take that message and meaning with them after they leave tonight, whether back to their college or university campuses or throughout their lives.”
Chelsea Clinton was also accompanied by Mayor Rahm Emanuel for added support. “All of us have a responsibility to our fellow citizens, as Muhammad Ali said, the service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth,” Emanuel said.
With such a big turnout, Kamau’s presence was required in Chicago leaving coaching duties to Sylvester Black. Sylvester was able to fill the role coaching Sloane quite well as he did double duty with on-court coaching igniting a turnaround from Sloane after losing eight straight games to eventually win her semifinal match against KarolínaPlíšková 6-1 in the 3rd set.
With Sylvester backing him up, Kamau may have more opportunities to engage in the political scene of Chicago to make a real difference. The high crime and poverty stricken streets of Chicago could definitely use a sport like tennis to promote education and positive community development.
From saving the community, hosting the Oracle Challenger Series to grooming the next US Open champion, Kamau and XS Tennis are destined for continued success. For more info about Kamau and his efforts at XS Tennis Village click here.
US Open Arts Courts by Chase in Los Angeles
By Editorial Team
Today eight tennis courts at Harvard Park in Los Angeles got a major upgrade as the USTA teamed with Chase Bank to facelift five facilities across the country with new artwork by local artists and celebrities. Harvard Tennis Center had a share in the effort as a key NJTL cite for the event.
This court resurfacing project was much needed within the community as more people outside of the sport see the Williams sisters playing on TV, but have no real connection to tennis in real life. These newly painted courts can be the spark needed to ignite tennis within a community that has been oftentimes forgotten.
Marty Woods of Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program (NJTL) and Malcolm Johnson of Chase Bank partnered to make the effort happen. During the ribbon cutting ceremony speakers referenced a common theme – “continued effort” to boost tennis within the inner city.
The USTA is making a concerted effort to promote the sport of tennis at the grass root level and the touch of art across five cities is a great way to spring the initiative across the country. The most important element of outreach is the follow up in regards to regular visits to the community and long lasting investments in the facilities, coaches and children within these junior development programs.
Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program (PBJTP) teams with US Open Art Courts
By Erin Maher / Thursday, May 17, 2018. US Open.org
From Arthur Ashe to the Williams sisters, public courts have nurtured and built US Open champions. The USTA, in partnership with Chase and our National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, will build upon its shared mission to strengthen communities through tennis and art by restoring five public-court facilities in five markets.
Here is a look at the NJTL Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program, where artist Charlie Edmiston will make the public courts at Harvard Tennis Park in Los Angeles his canvas on May 19.
Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program (PBJTP), a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter, was founded in 2009 and, since then, has been dedicated to training diverse youth through developing physical fitness, sportsmanship, team work and education both on the tennis court and in the classroom.
Based out of the public courts at Harvard Tennis Park in Los Angeles, the PBJTP was started in honor of the late Pete Brown, a local tennis coach who taught tennis and spread his love for the game in the South Central community for over 40 years. The PBJTP has served the Los Angeles community for almost 10 years, providing a safe and positive place for young people who have the desire to learn and excel at tennis.
The PBJTP offers a variety of programs for children, which include free weekly supervised on-court tennis coaching and training for kids aged five to 18, tournament training, player support, as well as a mentoring program, with all tennis coaches serving as mentors and role models to emphasize the importance of hard work, determination and perseverance.
Besides the on-court instruction, the NJTL focuses on children’s academic development through their Academic Creative Engagement program, also known as “ACE.” ACE was designed to encourage academic achievement, health and wellness and social emotional skills to help guide children in their daily lives.
On May 19, the PBJTP will be given the gift of art from the USTA in conjunction with Chase, when four of their public courts will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind piece by local artist Charlie Edmiston. 2017 US Open women’s semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe will take part in the celebration and will join Edmiston for the live painting session that day at Harvard Park.
“This is exciting for the children,” said PBJTP board member Marty Woods. “This is something different. There’s a lot of energy at the park, so this will capture it.”
WATCH Pete Brown Junior Tennis Program – Live!:
Join the 50th anniversary Art Courts celebration in Los Angeles, and tune in to US Open Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET) for the live painting show, hosted by Vandeweghe.
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