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Midwest / Central Indiana

Kids Learn Tennis through Migrant Education Program

July 01, 2021

Last month, the Region 2 Migrant Education Program participants in Knox County, Indiana, enjoyed their first volunteer-based tennis program at Lincoln High School. Local tennis enthusiast Vanessa Purdom and her daughter, Savanna, launched the 4-week program in conjunction with local volunteers, sponsors, and USTA Central Indiana support and training.


The Migrant Education Program serves the migrant workers’ children in K-12th grades, serving 35 counties across the western half of Indiana. With the help of several local sponsors, the program was able to provide tennis for over 30 kids including equipment, balls, shoes, and socks.

Savanna recruited teammates Amelia Lane and Mallory Friend to help teach, while Vanessa worked with the MEP coordinator, Debbie Gries to organize and staff the clinic each week. Jamie Dugan, a former Western Illinois University player stepped in to help as a USTA Community partner with additional support and assistance. Cathy Rubey from USTA Central Indiana hosted a training on site for the staff and delivered bags and sunglasses for the kids to keep as well.


Participation grew throughout the month as word spread about the program to the older siblings of the students. So much so, they had more kids than racquets for the last week and brought in additional supplies. They capped off the 3-week program with a tennis party on the last day.


USTA Central Indiana Executive Director, Judy Tilmont, is excited about duplicating this program in other MEP Regions around the state. “We can now provide a roadmap for other MEP around the state to offer tennis as part of the curriculum every year,” Ms. Tilmont reports.


For more information on how to help support this program, please reach out to Vanessa Purdom at 580-799-5537. If you would like more information on how to start your own tennis program, please call the USTA Central Indiana office at 317-846-4560.


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