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USTA Serves awards $15,000 grant to Vic Braden's Junior Tennis Ambassadors

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USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, has awarded $450,000 in grants to 40 organizations that provide tennis and education to underserved youth and people with disabilities.

This brings the total awarded during the 2013 grant funding cycle to more than $1.2 million. Combined with scholarships, USTA Serves awarded a total of $1.6 million in 2013.

A $15,000 portion of the grants went to Vic Braden's Junior Tennis Ambassadors program in Santa Ana. The JTA program teaches young elementary and junior high students to coach any student in their school at no cost. Experiments with young students have shown that they possess amazing abilities as athletic coaches, when properly trained. The program also provides free instruction for adult volunteers who will supervise young elementary and junior high school tennis coaches. In addition, the young tennis coaches receive free instruction that qualifies them as permanent tennis coaches for classmates throughout the school year.

Vic Braden says on his web site: "As a former school psychologist, I experimented with students becoming teachers of other students and was amazed at the talent I saw. The student teachers seem to adopt a new and positive energy for learning. That experiment was the background for starting the Junior Tennis Ambassadors program. As a former elementary school teacher, I saw hundreds of young children who could benefit by being involved in tennis. I vowed to one day start a program to teach young children how to coach tennis to their classmates. After spending some years helping to manage the pro tennis circuit, and co-founding a sports research center, it was time to fulfill a dream. And in 2007, the Junior Tennis Ambassadors program was born."

The bi-annual grant process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was established to award organizations that successfully combine tennis and education for underserved youth as well as people with disabilities. These programs also strive to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles.

“USTA Serves is proud to end the year by awarding and recognizing some of the country’s most phenomenal programs for their efforts toward impacting the lives of youth through tennis and education,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Serves. “These programs have a solid foundation and exhibit tremendous dedication to serving children who deserve a life filled with education and physical activities. For this, we thank them for leading the way in designing a nurturing environment where students can thrive and succeed on and off the tennis court.”

To date, USTA Serves has awarded more than $17 million in grants and scholarships to standout players and programs throughout the country in order to provide at-risk and underserved youth with greater opportunities to achieve success.

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