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Missouri Valley / Heart Of America

Gold Star Award: Stephanie Waterman Foundation

Jerod Fox | May 26, 2020

In honor of our 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley will be recognizing 100 deserving tennis providers, players, partners and more across our section throughout the year.

 

Selected nominees will be given a Gold Star award, recognizing them for the contributions they are making to support and grow the game in the USTA Missouri Valley based on specific program areas and attributes. 

 

One of the May award winners from the USTA Heart of America is the Stephanie Waterman Foundation, represented by Scott Hanover, Executive Director.

 

For 33 years, the Stephanie Waterman Foundation (SWF) has been serving the Kansas City community by providing tennis opportunities for underserved youths. They do so not only with their tennis programs, but by teaching nutrition and fitness, life skills and academic engagement as well.

 

“To me, one of the most amazing things about the foundation is that it’s been around since 1987,” Hanover said. “This has been an ongoing effort. A lot of people in Kansas City have often heard of the foundation but don’t realize the true impact that it has.”

 

One of the impacts in tennis that the SWF has made is at the high school level. More and more local schools are adding the sport, which Hanover believes is a result of the foundation’s work.

 

“Because we’ve started to produce kids and introduce tennis in the urban community, it seemed like a natural thing,” he said.

 

The impacts are seen not only in the player’s tennis skills, but in their life skills as well. The foundation is able to use tennis as a conduit for other life lessons.

 

“We always have some kind of educational component that is a part of the tennis that we teach,” Hanover said. “That’s really what it’s about, is helping produce better kids, better citizens. Those two things have always been in partnership, so it’s naturally seamed into what we do.”

 

Even though the SWF has been around for over three decades, they are not stuck in their ways. They are continually looking for new and exciting ways to make a difference in the lives of young people.

 

“We had worked tirelessly for the last couple of years to get the school programs going throughout the Kansas City, Missouri schools,” Hanover said. “Now, we’re looking for other things that we can provide, and other groups and organizations that we can partner with."

 

Hanover is excited that the foundation is being recognized by the USTA, and realizes that it would not be possible without the workers that put in countless hours to make the SWF’s vision a reality.

 

“This is about all of the volunteers, all of the board members, anybody that’s ever been a part of the organization,” he said. “It’s nice to know that what we’ve been doing for the past 33 years has been recognized.”

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