DeAnn White of the Genesis Foundation for Fitness & Tennis on Why Tennis is Important for our Youth
Here in Kansas, there’s grassroots support to bring the game of tennis to underserved communities, and people like DeAnn White have been instrumental in helping make it happen.
Growing up, White wasn’t able to afford to play sports. However, after 32 years in the corporate world, she was looking for something fun to do that would keep her physically fit. It was then she decided to take up tennis. And now, she’s sharing her love of the sport by giving back to the community as the Executive Director of the Genesis Foundation for Fitness & Tennis.
The Genesis Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) foundation founded by Genesis Health Clubs to promote the benefits of physical activity to youth living in Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Reno Counties, with an emphasis on serving individuals, schools, clubs, and other organizations. Through programs such as tennis clinics, Beds for Kids, Kicks for Kids, and others, the Foundation has made a positive impact on local children in need.
“Tennis is a sport that anyone can do at any age,” said White. “At the Genesis Foundation, we focus on youth ages 6 through 18, namely the underserved youth who don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to tennis.”
“It’s a great sport, where it’s just two people getting out there hitting the ball over the net in a park,” White continued. “It doesn’t take a big sport like basketball or football; two people could do it, and if we give these kids a racquet and a ball, they could be out there at the park having a good time while being physically fit.”
Not only does playing tennis help keep young players busy and physically fit, it also helps them learn vital life skills and self-discipline through good sportsmanship.
“Sportsmanship is very important; it’s how you interact individually with others,” said White. “If you have a poor sport out there on the court–or anywhere in life–and don’t treat people with dignity and respect [it’s not good]. We think good sportsmanship gives you a great foundation on how to be well-behaved as well as learning the fundamentals of how to get along [with others].”
Through grants to local schools and organizations interested in getting young players involved in tennis, as well as by hosting clinics for players of all skill levels, the Genesis Foundation has been crucial in helping boost the sport in Wichita and the surrounding areas.
“It’s very important that we give even just a small amount of ourselves, our time, or financial support to those who can’t afford to play a sport, and tennis is a perfect opportunity to do that,” White said. “It doesn’t cost a lot to be out at the park with just some fundamental experience.”
“I think no matter what your source of income is, what your giving capacity is, that you have that opportunity to give back just a little bit of your time.”
And it’s not just the kids who benefit from playing tennis either. “Tennis is a great sport and I know everybody says any age can play, and believe me, any age can do it,” said White. “And you can start at any age, whether you're 6 or in your 60s. I believe it’s just a great sport anybody can do.”
To learn more about the Genesis Foundation for Fitness & Tennis, please visit https://www.genesisfoundationwichita.com.