City of Saginaw MI -
Urban Tennis - Saginaw


Urban Youth Tennis

Teaching tennis, character, sportsmanship, and teamwork with friendship, love, and encouragement.

Aug 1, 2013 - Urban Youth Tennis - Let's Salute Saginaw Tennis!
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A few months after the program began with an idea and prayers, a Michigan non-profit corporation was formed (the Urban Youth Tennis Foundation) and the recognition as a charitable, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization was approved in record time by the IRS.

The following founders and officers currently conduct business and program operations:

  • President/Director/Instructor: Pharrington Douglass, USPTA
  • Sec./Trea./Director/Instructor: Ken LeCureux, CPA
  • Program Coordinator/Director: Laurie Howell, MS

Guidance is also provided by an advisory council comprised of a diverse group of talented and experienced people, all with a passion for reaching the urban, at risk youth of our day.

Overview and Goals

Urban Youth Tennis is a professional program in its seventh year of reaching and teaching inner city children residing in at-risk and under-served environments. Through nationally recognized instructional methods, we use developmental tennis as a mission tool to mentor youth and provide faithbased guidance. Much has been accomplished over the past six years. Most importantly, we have reached and mentored over 600 kids, while promoting reading and nutrition in our camps. We continue to maintain the municipal Garber Tennis Courts for the City and in 2010, we organized a significant renovation of the worn-down facility under the headline: Friends of Garber Courts. Another initiative that will bring huge dividends for tennis in the area, is our annual training of the Saginaw Public Schools' physical education teachers. They are also provided with special racquets and balls for gymnasium lessons during their regular physical education classes. This effort has the potential of reaching over 4,000 youth.

Some remaining goals are:

Develop an adult program. Develop high school tennis team support. Replace the existing city courts with a new, state-of-the-art facility, complete with a shelter and bathrooms. Have a tennis pro stationed at the courts giving lessons and organizing competitive play. Develop a traveling Saginaw Junior Tennis Team. Establish advanced tennis instruction to assist collegiate scholarship opportunities.

Mission Objectives

Using the process of tennis instruction, training, performance, and "chalk-talk" instruction time, children are encouraged in the following areas:

  • Self-confidence
  • Manage winning and losing
  • Teamwork
  • Make new friends
  • Self-discipline
  • Expand their vision
  • Communication skills
  • Learn a game that lasts a lifetime
  • Anger management
  • Alternatives to street culture
  • Leadership skills
  • Academic encouragement

Structured after school and summer tennis programs can help fight crime, drug abuse, and violence and help start inner city, at risk youngsters on the track to a better life.

A summary of our passion is reflected well in this quote from tennis legend Arthur Ashe, in Days of Grace…

"Our idea is to use tennis as a way to gain and hold the attention of young people in the inner cities so that we can teach them about matters more important than tennis…Through tennis, lives can be changed and spirits reclaimed."

Urban Youth Tennis Foundation (Urban Tennis & Friends of Garber Courts)
P.O. Box 1994, Saginaw, MI 48605
(tax-deductible contributions are always appreciated)
Member, Community Tennis Association/USTA, Member, National Junior Tennis League


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