The Summer Upswing
As we finish up another school year, The ACE Project turns to the summer tennis swing ahead. How did you spend your summer breaks when you were a kid? Did you explore the outdoors? Learn a new game or sport? Participate in a club with your friends? The summer seemed like the time to make unforgettable memories, to test the limits of imagination; unfortunately, for many kids in south suburban Chicago and Baltimore City, the summer is about elevated fear and unknown threats. The Baltimore Sun painted a picture of this harsh reality last year, saying "After another summer of historic gun violence in the city, school officials are preparing for an emotional return on Tuesday, when empty seats will underscore a grim reality: Some students are now dead, some are recovering from gunshot wounds, and some are sitting in jail, accused of taking part in the mayhem. It’s the case nearly every year in Baltimore." The ACE Project was launched to help paint a new picture; one that breaks these cycles through the game of tennis. Thanks to your past support, The ACE Project has been able to increase opportunities for students, parents, teachers, school administration, local leaders, and, most recently, police officers, to join in the game through our after-school programs. The shared joy and appreciation was inspiring, and it demonstrated how we could nurture a child's positive development together.
Today, we ask for your donation to provide kids with extended activities that make the summer months bright.
With so much happening, it's hard to know where to begin! Here are a few of the upcoming programs, projects, and events that we are excited about this summer:
There is renewed energy to serve in our communities. Drew Vetter, the director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice in Baltimore, believes "'very strongly that we need to identify the population of juveniles who are most at risk for violence, and the communities that are most impacted, and design any approaches or new programs around those heavily impacted neighborhoods and those specific kids.'" As we have found through the introduction of tennis, kids enjoy the many lessons learned through playing. At a recent keynote panel discussion hosted by the US Play Coalition, leaders in the Parks and Recreation field discussed "The Implications of Race on Play for Youth of Color"; Dr. Corliss Outley, Texas A&M University, closed the discussion by emphasizing the importance and benefits of play in childhood including: "1) increased self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-respect; 2) increased confidence through developing new skills; 3) the promotion of their imagination, independence and creativity; and 4) the provision of learning opportunities about the child's environment and the wider community." By filling our summer schedule with lots of chances for kids to play, we believe they will be better prepared for the start of the school year next fall.
With your support, The ACE Project can continue providing opportunities for youth to play during the summer months when violence casts a shadow over the joys of being a kid. You can help us create memorable experiences for our participants that last well beyond childhood:
- A $15 donation will equip a child with their very own tennis racket.
- A $60 donation will afford a child with an opportunity to attend a professional tournament.
- A $175 donation will provide a child with a full week of summer camp activities.
- A $550 donation will provide a child with a full season of tennis instruction.
- A $1,000 donation will allow The ACE Project to host a tournament for 15 kids.
We appreciate your help to make the summer bright!