William Rosetti of Oakland CA discusses how Youth Tennis Advantage serves youth in inner-city communities.

Inner-city youth face a variety of challenges unique to their surroundings and circumstances. The Youth Tennis Advantage (YTA) is making a serious effort to change that. The organization, which was founded by Arthur Ashe in 1970, serves as an outlet for inner-city youth to enjoy competitive play while boosting their academics and life skills. William Rosetti of Oakland CA is on the YTA Board of Directors, and he recently discussed exactly what this organization does to serve the youth of inner-city communities.

The sport of tennis is often associated with country clubs or costly sports centers. However, William Rosetti of Oakland CA explained that the Youth Tennis Advantage is changing that. The YTA has been around for decades, first as two nonprofit organizations, the Youth Tennis Foundation and the NJTL of San Francisco. These organizations were founded in 1968 and 1975 respectively, and the YTA was formed as a conglomeration of the two in 1999. The initial organizations offered free summer tennis programs for kids living in low-income neighborhoods across San Francisco. Popularity grew, and surrounding cities became involved.

“Tennis wasn’t always associated with inner-city communities, but for decades, it has served as an ideal vehicle for kids to find healthier, more productive lifestyles,” William Rosetti of Oakland CA said.

William Rosetti of Oakland CA added that kids who have been engaged in such programs, including those dating back to the late 1960s and the YTA today, have seen improvements in physical health, academics, and other opportunities. William Rosetti of Oakland CA explained that the kids who participate in these programs gain positive, lasting friendships, invaluable life skills, and open doorways to experiences they never would have enjoyed otherwise.

“What began as small programs for low-income neighborhoods has branched throughout a number of Bay Area cities,” William Rosetti of Oakland CA said. “It has expanded from solely summer programs to after-school programs and more for more than 400 kids per year.”

William Rosetti of Oakland CA added that in addition to playing tennis, kids involved in the YTA can join an academic enrichment program. This program focuses on character development, sportsmanship, leadership, and other life skills for boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18. William Rosetti of Oakland CA emphasized that kids don’t have to have any tennis skills to join the program. The YTA welcomes kids of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.

“The YTA is a completely free program open to kids of all ages and skill levels,” William Rosetti of Oakland CA said. “The goal is not to make money, but to aid inner city youth in developing positive, essential life skills and having a whole lot of fun while doing it.”