The United States Tennis Association-sponsored program, designed specifically to encourage students to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle, uses the vehicle of playing tennis to drive that point home.
“Tennis is an individual sport that can be played for a lifetime,” said Kimberly Emanuel, one of the program’s coordinators. “The self-fulfillment of the sport allows students and the youth the opportunity to boost self-esteem, which in turn helps in all aspects of their schooling and life outside of school.”
For children 10 and under, tennis curriculum will be offered at elementary schools through the physical education program. An afterschool tennis curriculum will also be offered at participating schools.
“Some schools will have an independent tennis club, whereas there will be no fee,” said Emanuel. “If the after-school opportunity for tennis is through the school’s after-school program, then fees associated with that program will apply.”
To carry along the program, coaches and life skill teachers are sought.
According to Emanuel, in order to be eligible to serve in either of these roles, applicants must complete an application, background check and training.
Emanuel, who is currently the school system’s science, health and physical education coordinator, said other than offering a bolster to self-esteem, this program is critical in light of the obesity epidemic.
“Low levels of physical activity amongst our youth and the correlating rise of obesity are big problems facing society today,” she said. “There are fun ways for youth to stay active that don’t require team sports.”
Emanuel has been integral part of the program since its initial proposal introduction last year.
“I have been involved with this initiative since it was introduced to the county by our Southern Crescent Representative Steve Prangley,” she said. “This has been a year-long process that will benefit all students in Henry County Schools.”
Information: (770) 957-6547.