USTA Eastern Partners with

Project Play 

USTA Eastern  |  February 19, 2018

On January 23, USTA Eastern staff  leaders participated in the Aspen Institute’s Project Play: Harlem Huddle,  a brainstorming meeting that convened local civic, youth and sport group leaders to consider ways the community can work together to grow the quality, quantity and accessibility of sport options for East Harlem youth. 


One of Eastern’s most promising junior competitors, 14-year-old East Harlem resident Donovan Spigner spoke at the Harlem Huddle about the important role tennis plays in his life. Donovan has played at the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program (HJTEP) for years and recently became one of a cadre of young East Harlem athletes serving on the Project Play Harlem Youth Leadership Council, informing the working group of community leaders on one of the primary tenets of the Aspen Institute’s Project Play platform: ask kids what they want. Results from a survey of more than 1,500 local youth found that one of the sports East Harlem kids want to try is tennis. ADVERTISEMENT The Aspen Institute unveiled these preliminary survey findings which ranked tennis as one of the top five sports that East Harlem kids and teens want to try, regardless of gender.


A large national initiative launched in 2013 by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that can help local stakeholders build healthy communities through sports.  East Harlem is the second community site (East Baltimore, Maryland was the first) in which the Aspen Institute is applying its collective impact methodology to understand and evaluate East Harlem’s current state of play through an environmental analysis of school and recreation efforts while convening an advisory group of community and youth leaders to guide strategy on building healthy kids and communities through sport. Project Play Harlem is guided by the eight strategies as identified in the Aspen Institute report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. Since 2015, more than 100 organizations around the country—from professional leagues to grassroots providers—have used the report to introduce or shape youth athletics programming.


USTA Eastern will be working closely with the Project Play Harlem leadership to ensure the tennis opportunities in this area meet the interests and needs of the community’s youth.  Click here to learn more about Project Play Harlem. 


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