PROVIDING FREE TENNIS LESSONS TO DISADVANTAGED KIDS
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“Top 15 Moments in Canadian Sport for 2015″ includes KATS for “Best Volunteer Moment”
Recipient of TENNIS CANADA’S “EXCELLENCE AWARD FOR 2015
In 2017 KATS was one of the top three organizations for kids programs in Victoria recognized by ChatterBlock with their “Best of the Block” award. This is particularly meaningful to us since it is a “people’s choice” award determined by parent’s votes.
The growth of KATS has been extraordinary!!
From its inception in October 2013, the reception we have received from: the community at large, the organizations we work with, the funding entities we have approached and, most importantly, from the kids and parents has been enthusiastic and inspiring. We have surpassed 7,000 participants in just 4 years of classes.!
From the community, and specifically the large group of retired women and men who still maintain an interest in tennis, we have assembled a team of 54 volunteers. We have conducted workshops to train them to assist the Tennis Canada certified instructors we employ. We have also provided first-aid training for those who required certification.
Jimmy Perry Costamagna, our Head Coach and Program Director is a semi-retired executive with a wealth of organizational skill and a life-long love of the sport. His contributions have helped us develop as quickly as we have.
” … impressed by the professionalism,passion and commitment … KATS is working hard to bring kids back to active living, the love of the outdoors, skill development and the joy of playing! Most of our students would not be able to take tennis lessons without the support from KATS!”
Melinda Budgell M. Ed, School Counsellor, Lansdowne Middle School
In little over one year, we have conducted programs in conjunction with 45 different organizations, extending from Esquimalt to Sidney.
They fall into five categories:
- The City of Victoria Department of Parks & Recreation.
- Low-income schools – 21
- Social agencies – 13. (including: Girls, Aboriginal , New Canadian, Autism & Down Syndrome)
- Community Centres – 7.
- Municiplal Rec Centres – 3
“Our son, who has been reluctant in the past to try sports activities, surprised us by falling in love with tennis this fall through your lessons at the Vic West Community Centre. He has expressed an interest in continuing with tennis lessons throughout the winter, indoors or outdoors.”
Kids & Parents
In our first year, we reached 236 children followed by 1825 in our second year (2015). To date, over 7,000 kids have participated in our programs since our first class.
How to account for such rapid growth? There are several factors.
Parents find tennis attractive for a number of reasons.
First, compared to other sports, equipment to get kids started is inexpensive. Second, Victoria has so many free public courts throughout the city that access close to home is assured. Third, concern about the long-term effects of concussion and serious injury in contact sports is growing. Tennis provides all the physical and emotional benefits derived from participation in sports yet is one of the safest.
Last, the way in which we teach today virtually guarantees that all kids can learn the game, including many who are not naturally athletic and those with physical handicaps. One of our most inspiring students is a 10 year old boy who has no thumbs and 1 finger on each hand. His two-handed forehands and backhands are a joy to watch. He is currently in his fourth series of classes.
“The response to the tennis programs has been overwhelming. We have a wait-list … Parents want to provide recreation and sporting opportunities to their children however, there can be financial barriers to participation. KATS is breaking down those barriers.”
Kate Longpre, Manager, Victoria West Community Centre
The enthusiasm with which our program has been embraced by so many diverse agencies and funding organizations is a reflection of their belief that the benefits to the community are tangible. They appreciate we are filling a niche that has not been addressed previously.
The fact that similar programs in other Canadian and US cities have been operating and growing for more than 20 years attests to this.
“… a wonderful addition to our PE program …Every effort was made to create a learning environment that fostered the needs and interests of the kids … highly recommend this program … it is a gift for students.”
Niske Blake, LTHS Teacher, Lau Welnew Tribal High School
With our recent expansion to the “Westshore Communities”, adding 4 elementary schools and the Westshore Recreation Centre, we now service all of Victoria. From Sidney to Sooke.
We have also conducted several classes for “Special Needs” kids, primarily Autism and Down Syndrome and for the first timeThe Canucks Autism Network Multisport Summer Camp will be offering tennis with our help .
We have just had initial discussions with the hope that we can add wheelchair tennis.
HELP KATS HELP KIDS
CRA Registration no. 836792432RR0001.