Hispanic Heritage Month:
James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | September 23, 2019
NEW HAVEN, CT- Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, USTA New England is celebrating prominent Hispanic tennis leaders in New England. Mavi Sanchez- Skakle is the Executive Director of New HYTEs, a successful NJTL (National Junior Tennis & Learning) chapter based in New Haven, CT. Originally from Sinaloa, Mexico, Sanchez-Skakle didn’t learn English until the age of 14, the same year she stepped on a tennis court for the first time. Now, she runs one of the most impactful youth tennis organizations in New England and shares a passion for both tennis and helping children.
Through its flagship program, TEaM (Tennis Education and Mentoring), New HYTEs looks to enrich the lives of New Haven area youth by giving them the academic and tennis support and foundation they might not be able to otherwise experience.ADVERTISEMENT
New HYTEs is a multiple-time winner of USTA New England’s NJTL of the Year award, winning most recently in 2018.
USTA New England caught up with Sanchez-Skakle to discuss her pivotal role in the New England Tennis Community.:
What is the best part about being a leader in the tennis community?
My greatest joy is the opportunity that I have as a steward of an NJTL chapter. In our environment, tennis provides access to healthy choices, impactful character development, and pathways to higher education. The sport of tennis has been ever-present in my life; it’s gifted me with meaningful friendships, it’s been a refuge in challenging times, and is now a place where I can pay it forward. There is no greater feeling than introducing the sport that has given me so much, to youth that normally would not come in contact with it.
What can we do to get more Hispanics, both youth and adults, playing tennis?
Our greatest challenge in the Hispanic community for tennis is the lack of access to tennis facilities. We also must introduce tennis as a family sport and a fun community activity. My parents introduce tennis to me and my younger sister on a public court that was nestled between apartment buildings in Wilkinsburg, PA. It’s some of my happiest family memories, I had no idea then the impact that tennis would have over my life in the years to come.
What has been your most meaningful contribution to tennis?
My most meaningful contribution is using the sport I love so much as a social catalyst for positive change. We provide our youth pathways to reach higher education and a life of healthy choices. Tennis has provided me with unique professional opportunities, and I have met amazing people during my travels. The sport for a lifetime continues to shape my personal and professional life in the most meaningful ways.
To learn more about New HYTEs, visit their website.