Today we’d like to introduce you to Kerry Blum.
Kerry, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After graduating SDSU I was as a special education teacher while volunteering for Youth Tennis San Diego (YTSD) beginning in 1989. I then took over as the Community Development Director for YTSD, expanding the After School Tennis program to over 100 sites and received the Eve Kraft Community Service Award in 2004. Helped develop Barnes Tennis Center programs and was instrumental in creating grassroots to high performance programs for all age juniors. In 2000 began a preschool program at the Barnes Center for 3-5 year olds. 2003 became the Executive Director for YTSD and the Barnes Tennis Center. The Executive Director is responsible of all day-to-day functions of Youth Tennis San Diego (YTSD), and The Barnes Tennis Center (BTC). Responsible for strategic planning, budget control, ensuring that YTSD and BTC legal status is not compromised, staff leadership, and resource allocation- both people & financial. Executive Director ensures that the operations of YTSD are mission driven. Grew the operational budget from just under $1M to a $1.8M budget. I enjoy playing tennis along with a multiple of other sports. I am married with 2 high school aged sons.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not always been easy. Our organization seeks to make the game of tennis affordable, accessible and available to all children throughout the county of San Diego. Providing programming in every zip code has proven to have challenges. Balancing fundraising with scholarships is ongoing. Ethnic backgrounds also create obstacles for participation. We seek inner city sites/schools to provide programming which brings along gang related issues and lack of family support.
Campaigning to fund a center for all the youth in San Diego was also challenging. $2M was initially raised to build the Barnes Tennis Center but ongoing funding to maintain the 20+ year old facility so even more daunting.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Youth Tennis San Diego/George E. Barnes Family Jr. Tennis Center – what should we know?
Over the past 27 years YTSD has given hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged youth across San Diego County access to tennis through its After School Tennis program. YTSD partners with teachers, principals, school districts and park and recreation departments to bring After School Tennis to San Diego youth. Elementary and middle school students are taught by their teachers at their schools or nearby park and recreation sites. Teachers are given training in tennis instruction and the equipment to teach their classes, and 93% of students receive need-based scholarships from YTSD to participate. Today approximately 7,500 elementary and middle school students participate annually in After School Tennis classes in San Diego County’s southern, central and eastern communities.
In addition to giving some of San Diego’s most vulnerable youth the opportunity to play tennis, After School Tennis helps youth learn important life-skills such as the values of sportsmanship, teamwork, fitness, communication and leadership. The educational component of After School Tennis is vital to YTSD whose mission is the educational, physical and social development of all youth through tennis and educational activities.
A final component of the After School Tennis program is to provide a pathway for youth to grow their interest in tennis. After School Tennis sites are strategically located in neighborhood school clusters to ensure that tennis is available to youth as they progress from elementary to middle school. After School Tennis participants are invited to play in quarterly singles and doubles round-robin tournaments at After School Tennis Regional Centers and at the George E. Barnes Family Tennis Center, a 25-court tennis and education center owned and operated by YTSD. From there, students may advance to novice and sanctioned junior tennis tournaments run by YTSD.
George Barnes Tennis Center provides
25 Tennis Courts 23 hard courts and 2 clay courts
* Ping Pong
* Tennis & Sports camps through summer.
* Wheelchair tennis
* Special Populations programs over 200 juniors a year
* Tennis classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced players for ages 4 and up.
* Tournaments, doubles, mixed doubles, team tennis format & special activities for all ages
*Tennis leagues for ages 6 to 80years old
* Clinics for juniors and adults
* Birthday parties
* Corporate mixers
* Free homework assistance to juniors ages 6-19 years old.
* Sand volleyball for juniors & open for adult play
* Basketball for juniors and open for adult play
* Running track open for all classes and ages
* Seminars for junior and parents.
* Junior Player Council- “kids helping kids” – advocates and representatives for junior tennis players. – Junior players organizing fundraisers, special events, tournaments.
* After School Tennis classes (held on school grounds) to juniors ages 6-16
* Wheelchair classes and tournaments for all ages
Kids play free at the Barnes Tennis Center. Supervised Match Play is offered several days a week for junior and adults.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Children are the future and priority.
Life lessons are learned on court and carried over into everyday lives. Hard work, discipline, sportsmanship academics.
- Address: 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107
- Website: barnestenniscenter.com
- Phone: 6192219000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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