Atlantas NJTL players are striving to attend the U.S open for Arthur Ashe day at the U.S Open
Atlanta’s NJTL players are striving to attend the U.S open for Arthur Ashe day at the U.S Open.
The kids from Atlanta’s National Junior Tennis and Learning Association were heartbroken last year after they realized that they would be unable to attend the U.S Open for Arthur Ashe Kids day. Ironically they could not afford to attend the event that honors the man who created NJTL, Arthur Ashe. Ashe specifically created NJTL to give children with limited income the opportunity to play tennis.
Arthur Ashe Kids day is the largest single-day grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world. It consists of pro-tennis players coming together to play with junior players in memory of Ashe. Every junior player dreams to attend the event.
Ashe had a dream that tennis could become accessible to the masses regardless of finances or upbringing. Ashe wanted any child who loved tennis to be able to play just like he did. Historically, tennis has always been perceived as a rich man’s sport. Ashe wanted to break those perceptions and barriers. In 1969, Ashe, Charlie Pasereli, and Sheridan Snyder founded The United States Tennis Association’s National Junior Tennis and Learning Association (NJTL). Ashe said, “Through tennis, lives can be changed and spirits reclaimed.” He believed that tennis provided a sense of discipline for young kids. He envisioned NJTL to be a factor in helping close economic gaps through education.
Atlanta based Coach, William “Coach Wink” Fulton was devastated that his players missed Arthur Ashe day last year. Fulton furthered Ashe’s dreams through his own program within the NJTL, entitled The Best Game. Through the program, youth learn to excel by setting realistic and sustainable goals. The players also get the opportunity to participate in Arthur Ashe Kids day.
“We were really disappointed that we weren’t able to get our kids funded to attend Arthur Ashe day because junior players from around the world participate in the event. It’s the only time that most of our kids will even get to learn and play with the Pros. Seeing people like Venus and Serena in person has a lasting effect on our kids. Because they see that anything is possible
Through NJTL, children from Urban environments or with limited income received the opportunity to flourish athletically and academically. Many great players receive college scholarships.
Coach Fulton and National Tennis Player Jonathan Hart are making it their mission to fulfill a goal to raise funds so that all of the Atlanta NJTL players who want to attend the Open this year will. Hart teamed up with Coach Wink to raise funds for Atlanta NJTL players. Through their own personal contributions and donations from the community they have raised $7,400. A Go fund me page has also been set up to help get Atlanta’s NJTL players to Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the U.S Open.