The Center will create a new destination in Fairmount Park akin to Boathouse Row and the Mann Music Center," said AAYTE Board Chairman Robert A.
AAYTE is a nonprofit organization that has operated an expanding array of tennis programs, both at its indoor facility in Manayunk and at schools and recreational sites throughout the region, for 50 years.
The new facility will allow AAYTE to serve more children in honor of Arthur Ashe's wishes as well as to reflect his dream of nurturing the "whole child" through educational enrichment programs.
The concept, developed between Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education and Doug Fonte, President of Prince Americas, one of the world's top producers of tennis products, to give AAYTE teenagers the practical, real world experience of operating a business.
Our boys and girls will be learning entrepreneurial skills, retail operations and customer relations while running a real business," said Tina Tharp, AAYTE Executive Director.
Joining the young entrepreneurs will be Fonte, Tharp, Jerry Johnson, Chairman of the Board, Raye Johnson, Jerry's wife who has been training the youngsters on their sales and interpersonal relations, and Eric Doloway, AAYTE Education Director.
As the largest single gift to First Serve Children -- the capital campaign launched by AAYTE in order to serve more children with enhanced tennis and educational programming at a larger facility -- this leadership grant fulfills Verizon Communication's commitment to support organizations that serve the needs of diverse communities and enrich them with educational and technology programs.
Children participating in AAYTE programs have an opportunity to build learning skills and participate in programs in a safe and enjoyable setting," said James V.
More than 8,000 children participate in an ever-expanding array of AAYTE programs, including tennis instruction, advanced training, academic scholarships, the grass-roots summertime National Junior Tennis League of Philadelphia (operating at 58 sites throughout Philadelphia and Camden), the Goodstein Junior Leadership Program, after-school and community programs, and the Arthur Ashe Reading is Fundamental(R) Room, which features a library, study space, computers and a reading challenge.
Providing new opportunities to a diverse population, AAYTE
annually delivers first-class tennis instruction, fitness, health and nutrition training, equipment, tutoring, computer science, library services, along with its nationally acclaimed life skills curriculum to children ages 4 to 18, mostly coming from underserved, low-income communities.
They teamed up with local sportscasters to raise $3,000 for AAYTE
The new AAYTE
Center will have 16 courts, classrooms, offices, a computer learning center, a state-of-the-art fitness room and an Arthur Ashe Reading Is Fundamental(R) library.