ORGANIZER OF THE MONTH: JUly 2017
July 27, 2017
Each month, USTA Eastern selects one passionate advocate who has impacted lives through tennis on a local level. It all begins with a love of the game! These individuals have inspired us with their community tennis involvement.
Tennis Organizer of the Month: July 2017
Jasmin Melendez has been selected as USTA Eastern’s July Organizer of the Month for her amazing energy and dedication in helping to provide tennis access to kids.
Jasmin Melendez, the Child Care Manager at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development, Inc. (PRAHD) in Perth Amboy, N.J., decided to introduce tennis to youth as part of the organization’s programming. Jasmin was first introduced to the sport of tennis through the USTA Eastern New Jersey Region Tennis Service Representative, Quacey Balleste. She had noticed beautiful tennis courts in the Perth Amboy community consistently sitting empty and wanted to take action in getting more families active! In doing so, the response she received was resoundingly positive. ADVERTISEMENT
“Since baseball is huge here, we wanted to introduce a different activity that could have an impact on the kids’ lives,” Melendez said. “When parents see their child socializing and interacting on-court, they realize the kids are part of something much bigger. They are learning responsibility, teamwork, sportsmanship and the importance of fitness.” Jasmin found it interesting that despite the rich tennis history in the area, many parents didn’t know about the benefits of the sport. She organized a trip to the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden last winter to excite kids about tennis and to allow them to see firsthand some of the top professionals in the game.
PRAHD now offers low-cost tennis opportunities to students ages 5-12 years old in summer camp as well as before and after school programming. The organization provides Youth Tennis Leagues that include one hour of drills and matches against other community agencies. PRAHD also runs Play Day events to expose families to tennis, featuring a mix of activities, including a tennis obstacle course and “Skillastics” games.
Given her incredible success within Perth Amboy, Jasmin is an invaluable contributor to USTA Eastern’s Juega Tenis initiative, which strives to provide greater tennis access to Hispanic families in New Jersey.
Now, the tennis courts within the community are being utilized constantly and parents want to play with their kids. “Tennis has brought our families together,” Melendez said. “It has had such a positive impact on our city and we will expand as the interest continues to grow.”