Youth tennis center at VCU wins national award

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's game, set, match for the Lobs & Lessons, a youth tennis program at the Mary Frances Youth Tennis Center on the VCU campus.

Last month it won a National Chapter of the Year award, presented by the National Junior Tennis & Learning, an organization founded by Richmond native Arthur Ashe.

Established four years ago on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Mary and Frances Youth Tennis Center (MFYC) reaches out to underserved elementary and middle school youth across the community by introducing them to tennis, teaching them life skills and exposing them to the merits of higher education. In its after-school programs, MFYC serves 50 youth each day, five days per week.

In addition, full-day summer camps are offered for seven weeks and serve up to 40 youth per week. Students in the program participate on and off the court during their time at Lobs & Lessons. Tennis instruction is given in one-on-one and clinic settings, while practice skills are taught using team format play. MFYC strives to reinforce healthy lifestyles through lesson plans that focus on nutrition, self-image and healthy cooking. The participants in MFYC are encouraged to explore their future possibilities formally and informally through guest speakers, with topics ranging from college to careers, and with campus tours with interactive activities from multiple disciplines. Recently, MFYC started a year-long open enrollment program that welcomes any elementary or middle school child who wishes to participate one day a week for 28 weeks.

Program director Tina Carter and her volunteers also host two of the biggest tennis events of the year in Richmond, the Young Aces Open and the Family Open which include hundreds of Richmond residents playing in their facility.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.