August 2004 Tennis Volunteer of the Month
Landers Hubbard of Fresno, CA
For someone who has only been involved with tennis for three years, Landers Hubbard has made an indelible mark in the Fresno community in a short time.
Originally from Los Angeles, Landers has always been involved with sports, mainly football. But as an educator, he realized the growing need to connect with troubled youth and get them back into communities as contributing adults. Athletics proved to be that way to connect.
"With tennis, I like the one-on-one coaching I can do," Landers said. "It is a sport that has the discipline that we instill in our athletes.”
Landers, along with his daughter Janae, son Derek, and other volunteers, was a key founder of Elementary Youth Services (EYS) in Fresno in 1997. EYS builds a support system of mentoring, tutoring, and coaching by creating a safe atmosphere and a family environment for the youth in the community.
"Everybody loves sports,” Landers said. “If we can get them in the gym, then we start breaking down barriers and talking to young people to let them know the importance of education."
The primary goal of EYS is to offer mentoring and academic tutoring to students. Athletics is “the hook” to bring them in, and besides tennis, the newest offering, EYS conducts basketball, dance, and arts and crafts.
"Landers is a mentor, scholar, and athlete. Everyone looks up to him—he's over 6’6”!—but also because of his fairness, kindness, discipline, and genuine devotion to helping young people over the hurdles that life gives out,” said Marian Thomson, USTA NorCal Community Coordinator for the Fresno and South Valley Counties Sector. “Tennis is enriched by having him as an ambassador."
In 2003, EYS was named NJTL Chapter of the Year by USTA NorCal for its achievements. Landers credits the USTA and NorCal for much of his organization’s success.
"The USTA provides all the tools and incentives to create good solid athletic programs. Northern California has given us grants, training, and education, so we can continue our growth and outreach to our community,” Landers said. “One of my dreams is to have a facility where we can provide for the community with educational classrooms for tutoring and activity areas for sports."
Landers said he has found the sport that has changed his life; he is working everyday to help others to make changes in theirs too.
"Hub is one of the most dedicated, passionate advocates for youth I have ever met," said Craig Stephens, Director of Community Tennis for USTA NorCal. "He has a natural ability to blend sports with life's lessons."
Do you know someone who would make a good Tennis Volunteer of the Month? Email Andrew Feldman with a short description of how your volunteer helps promote and develop the game of tennis. If you have a picture, send it along.
Go to USTA Tennis Volunteer of the Month page
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