LAREDO TENNIS ASSOCIATION
Victoria Chiesa | September 23, 2019
More than 60 years ago, the Laredo Tennis Association was founded, but by its third decade of existence, it needed a rebirth. Today, the Community Tennis Association (CTA) which also boasts an expansive adaptive engagement program, is thriving in south Texas.
With more than 2,000 members, the Laredo Tennis Association serves the city of Laredo, situated on the north bank of the Rio Grande at the United States’ border with Mexico. Thanks to strong community support, according to LTA president Tina Trevino, the organization has partnered with numerous community groups to bring tennis to all.
In a city made up of a 96 percent Hispanic population and a large number of low socioeconomic, underserved people, the LTA wants to grow tennis in and around Laredo, and also make the game accessible for those with physical or intellectual challenges.ADVERTISEMENT
Support from the locals comes in various forms. There's the tangible, in the form of monetary support from an annual fundraiser; and the perceivable, which includes a morning television program called "Tennis with Tina," that advertises upcoming events, and coverage in the Spanish-language local newspaper.
Based on the feedback from community members — ranging from such statements as, "I’m proud of me. I’ve never been proud of myself;" “…your efforts create a profound effect that ripple all around us;" and "Now, my young daughter wants to play tennis and go to college. It’s because of Laredo Tennis Association.”— the LTA's investment is no doubt being felt.
One of the services that the program is most proud of is its adaptive engagement program, which offers tennis initiatives for the blind and visually impaired, stroke survivors, players with Down Syndrome and children with cancer.
The blind and visually impaired program, the LTA's oldest, is in its fifth year, while the stroke survivors and Down Syndrome programs have developed in the years since. All three programs serve players ranging in age from 9-70, and four times per year, designated events are held for children with cancer.
"In the last four years of children’s clinics, players have progressed from total novices to advancing their skills through the pathway of school tennis teams, Tennis On Campus programs, Junior Team Tennis and simply enjoying recreational tennis," Trevino said.
"Players in the blind and visually impaired [group] and stroke survivors group have seen dramatic improvement in their physical development, self-confidence, cognitive ability and social skills. Other participants can now run and skip, which was difficult in the past due to their developmental delays. Expectations are high and training is inclusive — everyone hears, ‘You can do this, you can do anything!’"
For more information on the Laredo Tennis Association, click here.