October 24, 2016
QuickStart Tennis of Central Virginia recently received a grant of $4,140 from the Harvest Youth Board to introduce “kid-sized” tennis into physical education classes (PE) in Martinsville and Henry County.
According to QuickStart’s grant application, the program will reach nearly 7,000 students in PE classes in Martinsville and Henry County public schools. QuickStart also plans to grow the sport in after-school and out-of-school programs by partnering with local instructors and area parks and recreation departments.
“This grant will make it possible for us to equip six schools in Martinsville and Henry County, and take tennis to thousands of kids who otherwise may have never picked up a tennis racquet,” said Lynda Harrill, founder of QuickStart. “We want a racquet in every hand and a smile on every face. We thank the Youth Board and the Harvest Foundation for making this possible.”
Harvest Youth Board member Taisha DeShazo said, “I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to learn tennis while getting needed exercise. Being active while learning is the best way to learn.”
Treasurer Kristel Hairston added, “I’m very excited to not only see all the new things this program will bring to our rea, but to also give youth something new to be excited about.”
Rusty Lovell, a tennis professional at Stratford Tennis Club in Danville, recently accepted the grant award from the Harvest Youth Board. After meeting Harrill, Lovell said he got involved in expanding QuickStart in the Danville area and now works on programming in Martinsville and Henry County.
“We’re really trying to start a grassroots tennis movement in Martinsville and Henry County,” he said. “We’re going to the schools to introduce kids to tennis. If some of them show a real talent for the sport, we’ll offer them lessons and hold junior clinics.”
Lovell attended Martinsville High School, played on the Men’s tennis team at Radford University, and served as a tennis coach in California for more than eight years. He said he moved back to the area to be closer to family.
The QuickStart format develops motor skills for students, including agility, balance, coordination, footwork and reaction time, according to the grant application. The program also will aim to introduce tennis as a field day activity for schools, and focus on teaching the sport to students who may not have access to tennis otherwise.
“We are thrilled with the support we have received from the Harvest Foundation Youth Board,” Harrill said. “It’s very exciting to see high school students engaged in a process that can do so much good in the community. Great life lessons can be learned through philanthropy and through tennis.”
To date, QuickStart works with 190 schools, and 89,000 students in 26 counties. The organization also works with 13 parks and recreation departments, three Boys & Girls Clubs and two YMCA’s. During the 2015-2016 school year, the organization expanded its service area to include Pittsylvania, Henry, Patrick and Franklin counties as well as Danville and Martinsville.
Find out more about QuickStart by visiting www.quickstartcentral.org.
Read more about the Harvest Youth Board, a program of Harvest Foundation and the Kiwanis Club, by visiting www.theharvestfoundation.org.