Always teaching free summer beginner tennis + yoga to hundreds of New Hampshire youth
Organized, fun competitive play opportunities for kids who can rally, serve, and keep score
Teens who want to make a difference - and build leadership skills - mentor the younger kids
Our actual mission: Advantage Kids introduces New Hampshire's youth to the benefits of tennis and yoga, developing them in mind and body. As New Hampshire's only NJTL (National Junior Tennis & Learning) organization, we combine tennis and social-emotional-learning to empower kids on and off the courts - giving them advantages that will lead to a lifetime of success.
In partnership with the US Tennis Association, as a National Junior Tennis & Learning organization, or NJTL, it is our mission to continue to grow the sport of tennis while enhancing the lives of underserved kids. Founded by Artur Ashe fifty years ago, the NJTL model exists throughout the country, offering tennis and learning to thousands of youth in different ways. Advantage Kids is New Hampshire's only NJTL, and one of few offering mindfulness in the country.
We realize that we have capacity to meet the core, root needs of our communities: we developed professional, scalable programs that support kids socially, emotionally, and mentally. In the world of academia, this is called “SEL,” and its practices are growing like wildfire, primarily due to their effectiveness.
Women's Sports Foundation rated tennis highest in youth who did better in school, were less likely to use substances, and were more likely to go to college. Science shows the profound effect mindfulness & meditation practices have on kids’ abilities to self-regulate, focus, and connect. Combining these two activities as "Tennis + Yoga" is a great match that gives our kids an advantage in tennis, in school, and in life.
The landscape is different than it was in 2019 when we started testing the Tennis + Yoga model. Funding sources are changing to adapt to the economic situation, more well-trained staff are necessary to serve smaller groups of children, and our wellness, social-emotional offerings are in much higher demand.
So, our vision is this: Advantage Kids will continue to inspire thousands of children every year through tennis and yoga, for a lifetime of success on and off the court.
We have solid, established partnerships with major organizations like the US Tennis Association and Boys & Girls Club, corporate sponsors like Supreme Lending and Irwin Marine, and foundations like the Donovan Jr. Memorial, which will allow our programs to continue to grow.
As we look to the future, we see diversified funding that supports our record of financial stability. We see a new world of opportunities opening up because of the clear ties to substance abuse prevention, mental health mitigating mindfulness, and overall wellness from the Tennis + Yoga combination.
We see a thousand children served Tennis PLUS (yoga + meditation) Programs in parks, at schools, and as an after-school option every single year.
We see our modules & programming in higher demand as other youth organizations begin to diversify and deepen their programs in response to this time of global trauma. We see schools asking us for programs! We see Advantage Kids for what it has become: an essential service.
We believe tennis and yoga are a great match because they both teach and require balance, flexibility, focus, and mental toughness (or, as we say, mindfulness).
We believe all children are capable of excellence in life, and should be given equitable opportunities in tennis, yoga, and academics regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender identity, or any other factor.
We believe that tennis should be inclusive, diverse, fun, and financially accessible for all New Hampshire children. We believe "Advantage Kids" are kids who have unique challenges and opportunities - and we believe they will succeed.
We believe that tennis, yoga, and mindfulness together offer a unique blend of wellness, inspiration, and empowerment that will last a lifetime. We believe our programs provide a way out of the opiate and mental health crisis for those who need it, and a way to cope with the "regular stressors" in life for everyone.
We believe that offering all youth - regardless of their socioeconomic status - an entrance point into the world of tennis will give them a lifelong advantage, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, good choices, and a solid foundation for life.
We believe that tennis is a growing sport!
Advantage Kids is more than just free tennis lessons. With our Tennis + Yoga Program, we offer the lifelong sport of tennis alongside the complimentary and powerful practice of yoga. Kids learn balance, focus, strength, flexibility, and resilience . . . on and off the court.
Advantage Kids provides a pathway for beginner tennis players. We take kids who have never held a racquet from utter beginners to "Actual Tennis Players" who can serve, rally, and score. Then, we offer them opportunities to compete, advance, mentor, and succeed in the game (and in life). Simultaneously, we teach them to relate to each other and the world around them. Or as Coach Susan Connolly says, "They don't just become better tennis players - they become better people."
Bob Ronstadt Founds Lakes Region Tennis Association and is named NH Volunteer of the Year.
Renamed to Advantage Kids and expanded beyond the Lakes Region. Named New England CTA of the year by the USTA. Director, Tim James, named NH Hero Of The Year by Tennis Magazine.
Supreme Lending provides three-year grant of $50,000, received acceptance into the USTA Foundation’s three-year Capacity Building Program, and received nomination for National CTA Of The Year.
Elected a new President of the Board, Tim James. Founder Bob retires. AK hires new Co-Executive Directors: Dawn Dragon & Brittany Boles.
Advantage Kids has grown a lot in its near decade of youth development work. We started out as a community tennis organization ("CTA") teaching free beginner tennis with some summer homework help. We were then recognized by the US Tennis Association as a a National Junior Tennis & Learning Organization ("NJTL"). Now, we are a statewide youth development partner offering Tennis + Yoga, the perfect match of balance, flexibility, focus, and connection that kids need to succeed on and off the mat.