At the heart of the Greater Stamford Tennis Association's mission is its Junior Tennis Outreach Program (GSTA-JTOP). The GSTA partnered with JTOP founder Neil Mehta (at the time a sophomore at Westhill High School) in January 2002 when both the Association and JTOP were at their inceptions. Since then, GSTA-JTOP has provided free quality tennis instruction and mentoring from high-school students and adult instructors to area at-risk youth.
OBJECTIVES OF GSTA-JTOP
* To provide economically disadvantaged children with access to the game of tennis
* To encourage integrity, sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork, discipline and cooperative development among participants in a safe and nurturing environment
* To positively impact the lives of participants through mentorship on and off the court
* To introduce youth to a game from which they will derive lifetime enjoyment
* To develop and evaluate the tennis skills of the children
* To instill high self-esteem in the participants through mental and physical development
The GSTA supplies all the equipment at no cost to its participants. Each child is given a tennis racquet to keep so they can continue to enjoy the game and develop their skills between classes. Prizes and awards are given to each student at the end of each summer and winter session.
The GSTA has also sponsored field trips for JTOP students to attend WorldTeamTennis matches and the annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day Festival at the USTA National Tennis Center the weekend before the US Open.
GSTA-JTOP HAS SERVED CHILDREN FROM...
THE WATERSIDE SCHOOL (Summer 2002-present)
The Waterside School is a revolutionary school founded for lower-income kindergarten through fifth grade students of above-average ability. The school's circiculum is based on the nurturance of each student's capacity for ethical leadership, by developing a sense of community, respect, independence and discipline.
YERWOOD CENTER (Summer 2003; Fall 2003-Winter 2004)
The Yerwood Center is a non-profit community center providing educational, computer literacy and cultural programs for inner-city children. Due to the nurturing nature of the program, students rapidly develop and grow from their experiences at Yerwood.
DOMUS FOUNDATION (Summer 2002)
Domus Foundation is a program that serves "at risk" middle school children who traditionally have had problems in the regular classroom. The participants benefit from individual attention in and out of the school curriculum.
The GSTA-JTOP has enjoyed the support of many organizations including: the City of Stamford, USTA, the Mickey Lione Foundation, the Youth Tennis Foundation, USA Tennis New England, Shippan Racquet Club, Kings Highway Racquet Club, Westhill High School, Sports Authority of Norwalk and the Hartfod FoxForce and New Sportstimes of World TeamTennis.