June 18, 2003

Santa Clara Tennis Serving It Up in the Community

June 18, 2003

Santa Clara University men's and women's tennis programs recently celebrated the implementation and completion of the Pathways to Success Program (SCPSP) with local middle-school Peter Burnett Academy. An after-school pilot program designed to expose low-income students to the college environment; SCPSP kicked off this spring at the mission campus with six weeks of tennis instruction and development, academic tutoring and personal mentoring.

SCPSP was created through a collaboration of Youth Tennis Advantage (YTA), SCU Tennis and the City of San Jose. The main objective of the program was to form a link between diverse, low-income communities and the college environment in order to increase the number of low-income children who attend college.

Coaches and players from both Bronco tennis teams welcomed up to 16 Peter Burnett Academy students twice a week to the SCU Tennis Center. The two-hour program was divided into a pair of educational segments. The first included participation in a variety of on-court tennis drills, games and match play, while the second half offered workshops on time management and goal setting, research and gathering information on colleges and universities and exploring a number of on-campus landmarks. Field trip favorites included visits to the residence and dining halls where the Burnett students discovered what it's like to be a Santa Clara student.

"These kids were amazing," men's head coach George Husack said. "We are ecstatic to have been able to provide a great learning experience not only for the students at Peter Burnett, but also for the players and coaches of our tennis programs."

The middle-school participants were identified and selected by the LEARNS program, an established after-school program operated by the City of San Jose at Peter Burnett Academy. LEARNS provided valuable resources to the tennis programs in helping to outline the structure of SCPSP. The Pedro Arrupe Center for Community Based Learning on campus also partnered with SCPSP as an advisor and assisted with questions of classroom instruction, developed an effective curriculum and provided training for the program tutors.

"We hope to build upon the success of this pilot program," Husack added. "Pathways to Success is a wonderful vehicle to share with the South Bay community as well as further the mission of Santa Clara University in developing the whole person through competence, conscience and compassion."

Youth Tennis Advantage was created in 1999 following a merger of the Youth Tennis Foundation of Northern California and the National Junior Tennis League of San Francisco. Since the merger, Youth Tennis Advantage operates eight neighborhood sites in San Francisco and Oakland, plus three university-based programs at California (Bear Trax), Stanford (EPATT) and Santa Clara (SCPSP). YTA's mission is to inspire inner-city children to achieve their full potential in tennis and academics. Youth Tennis Advantage is headquartered in San Francisco and can be contacted at 415-617-1120 or www.youthtennis.org.