USTA New England Builds Partnership
With Central Falls, RI
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | October 5, 2018
CENTRAL FALLS, RI- Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, the USTA has celebrated the heritage and culture of Hispanic and Latino Americans and has recognized a number of their contributions made to the United States. USTA New England is proud to say it has and will continue to partner with several predominantly Hispanic organizations and communities throughout the Section to increase tennis efforts.
One of the communities USTA New England is working directly with is Central Falls, RI. Central Fall has the highest percentage of Hispanics than any other city in Rhode Island, and USTANE is helping develop tennis programming throughout the city while also supporting the construction of the city’s first ever tennis court.
The partnership began around five years ago when USTANE teamed up with the city’s Veterans Elementary School for a once-a-week afterschool tennis program. ADVERTISEMENT The interest level in the sport started to increase gradually, so much so, that for the past two summers, tennis has been included in two city-wide initiatives: The Summer Food Service Program and the Let’s Move Fitness Festival.
Veterans Elementary and the Learning Community School were also early adopters to USTA’s new youth brand, Net Generation, to implement tennis into their PE curricula. They received racquets, balls and pop up nets in addition to other Net Generation branded equipment to jumpstart their programs.
This past January, USTA approved an Hispanic Engagement Grant for Central Falls, with the purpose of developing tennis programming and to support in building the city’s first ever tennis court.
“Whenever we’re in Central Falls running a tennis program, the engagement level is through the roof. People here want to play tennis and they continue to ask about opportunities to play more,” said Chantal Roche, USTANE Diversity & Inclusion Manager. “I’m happy we’re able to use this funding in a city so enthusiastic about the game and am confident the money will go a long way in growing tennis in Central Falls.”
The initial partnership was approved by Mayor James Diossa, who when elected in 2012 at age 27, vowed to rebuild Central Falls after the previous Mayor left the city in the wake of scandal.
“When I began my first term as Mayor, my team and I were determined to grow quality-of-life and healthful recreational opportunities for the citizens we serve, especially our youth. As we became aware that Central Falls was the only municipality in the state without a tennis court or tennis programming, we were determined to remedy this through partnering with the USTA New England,” Diossa said. “Thanks to this partnership, it has been a true pleasure for my team and I to see how the love of tennis and all of the lifelong benefits that this great sport has to offer has grown in our community and will continue for generations to come.”
USTANE also plans to support Central Falls in the development of multiple NJTL (National Junior Tennis and Learning) chapters, which will provide low-cost tennis and education programming to under-resourced youth.
The tennis court is set to be build at Sacred Heart Park and is in currently in the pre-construction stages.
“With all the programming we plan to implement through the schools and Parks & Recreation, this city should be in great shape to have some amazing players come out of Central Falls. This city truly sees the opportunities that could result from adding tennis programming, such as increased health and wellness and college scholarships for their youth,” Roche said.
On Monday, October 15, USTA New England will be traveling to Central Falls for a live interview with Mayor Diossa on the state of tennis in the city. Watch the interview live here at 2 pm.