This summer, Providence Tennis Academy is giving back to the community by offering a free six-week tennis program through their nonprofit One Love Providence for children ages 10 and under. The hope is to get kids interested in the sport, while promoting physical and mental development.
Led by Nestor Barnabe, director of tennis at Providence Tennis, students will learn the basics of the game while improving their skills, ending the season with a light competition. “We want kids to see that tennis is a fun sport that they can enjoy as they improve their skills and build their confidence,” he says.
Barnabe ran a similar One Love program as part of his community service project while he was a student at Sonoma State University in California. When life took him to the east coast, he was excited to replicate this successful program as One Love Providence.
More than being about the sport itself, Barnebe says, “by learning the game, tennis can become an avenue to kids being happy and doing what they love.”
Working with the Providence After School Alliance (PASA), Barnabe hopes to enroll 200 middle school students this spring and summer. “We’re looking to get families to join us that would never have stepped on a tennis court before,” he shares.
Born in Argentina, Barnabe fell in love with tennis at the age of six and has used the game as a way to propel his life personally and professionally. He can relate to many of the kids in the program who may be first- or second-generation Americans themselves. “Research shows that kids who play tennis are more likely to attend college,” he says, “so playing the game can really have a long-term impact on their lives.”
The sessions will focus on building sending and receiving skills with practice focused on lateral movement, increasing their speed as they get more comfortable. The core abilities required in tennis, like foot work, are important to any athlete.
Barnabe hopes to build the program beyond the summer months so that kids can learn to play tennis all year long. He wants to get kids moving, whether it’s playing tennis or any sport that they love.
Funding is provided partly through the Providence Tennis Academy along with grants from the RI chapter of the US Tennis Association, Bank Newport, and PASA. The program will be offered in two sessions, April 17-May 22 on Sundays and July 6-August 14 on Wednesdays and Sundays at the Providence Tennis Center at Roger Williams Park. For schedules and registration, visit ProvidenceTennis.com
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