VOLLEY AGAINST VIOLENCE
Craig Ellenport | June 1, 2019
Celebrating its 10th year, Volley Against Violence is a social intervention and prevention partnership based in Dorcester, Mass. It was created by the Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center (STEC) and the Boston Police Department. The mission is to provide safe and nurturing out-of-school options for youth that build life skills through tennis, while also changing the perceptions that youth and police officers have of each other.
“We target youth that are at high risk of violence,” said Monica Herman, community outreach coordinator at Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center, which was founded in 1961 – the first non-profit indoor tennis club built in the United States by and for the African-American community.
Volley Against Violence uses tennis and other activities to engage inner-city youth in physical and social interactions with uniformed police officers. ADVERTISEMENT Tennis coaches and other adults volunteer their time to help as well. Held twice a week, kids gather at STEC’s facility and are broken up into groups based on age and talent ability. The two-hour sessions serve about 600 kids, mostly 10 and younger but for all age groups, each year.
The program, which has received local and sectional USTA grants throughout its existence, has produced several success stories. Herman was particularly proud of one girl who had participated in Volley Against Violence twice a week for eight years. The program was the only formal training this girl had, and she became one of the best players on a competitive Boston Public School varsity team. Herman also noted that some of the kids who have participated in the program still keep in touch with the police officers they met.
“Volley Against Violence has touched thousands of lives since its inception,” said Herman.
For more information on Volley Against Violence, click here
Photo courtesy of: Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center