Mentoring USA Receives “Aces for Kids” Grant from USTA Serves Foundation
New York, NY (February 5, 2009) – Mentoring USA, one of the nation’s first site-based one-to-one mentoring programs, announced today the receipt of a $20,000 grant from the United States Tennis Association’s charitable entity USTA Serves. The USTA Serves Foundation for Academics, Character, Excellence (ACE) awarded 39 grants in its final “Aces for Kids” funding cycle for 2008 and Mentoring USA received one to put towards combining tennis and education by adding Quick Start tennis programs to Mentoring USA’s healthy lifestyles curriculum in New York City, Newark, Las Vegas, and Houston.

“Aces for Kids” is a national initiative of USTA Serves that strives to promote healthy lifestyles and combating childhood/adult obesity by providing underserved, at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format. At “Aces for Kids” program sites, children between the ages of 5-18 learn about healthy nutrition and lifestyles, responsible citizenship, study skills, and computer literacy; interact with a mentor; and learn to play tennis in a team format.

Mentoring USA serves young people, ages 7 to 21, in public schools, foster care agencies and community centers with a strong presence in cities across the country including NYC, Newark, Las Vegas, and Houston. Like “Aces for Kids,” Mentoring USA believes that the presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life increases self-esteem, strengthens relationships with peers and adults, improves academic performance and attendance, and helps combat school drop-out.

Matilda Cuomo, Founder of Mentoring USA and Former First Lady of New York, said, “Receiving the USTA Serves grant is a great honor and marks the start of an exciting relationship between us and the USTA. More importantly however, it offers an opportunity for the children we serve to engage further in sports activities and learn more about tennis and healthy living with their mentors.”

“It is extremely rewarding to see how programs like Mentoring USA are using USTA Serves funding to help children improve academically and learn positive life skills which will help them grow to be healthy, productive adults,” said Karen Martin-Eliezer, Chief Executive, USTA Serves.

Mentoring USA has integrated a focus on healthy lifestyles and nutrition into their program framework in response to growing rates of childhood obesity. Mentoring USA will use the USTA Serves grant to broaden vital mentoring programs by incorporating Quick Start Tennis into their programs in NYC and Newark through the USTA Eastern Section, in Houston through USTA Texas, and in Las Vegas through USTA Intermountain.