Who We Are
The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) is a premier educational and tennis organization for underserved children, providing the best quality instruction, resources, and mentorship to build life champions. We work to give underserved kids a safe environment they trust and where they can excel. We empower our students to achieve their highest potential by developing meaningful values and critical life skills that will lead them to success.
WTEF’s mission is to keep children off city streets and engage them in productive activities that instill self-pride and discipline. We help underprivileged children improve their academic performance and make choices that enrich, rather than endanger, their lives. We also provide opportunities for children to obtain academic and athletic scholarships for college. For those not college bound, WTEF offers assistance in joining the work force and making constructive life choices.
WTEF’s New Tennis, Education and Community Center
For the last 20 years, WTEF’s vision has been to broaden our reach and impact the lives of DC children in need. In order to achieve this, WTEF has built a new Tennis, Education and Community Center located in Ward 7, right in the heart of the neighborhood where thesechildren live and go to school. This state-of-the-art $10 million facility will offer increased opportunities to change the lives of underserved children. The six indoor courts, classrooms, computer lab and fitness room, plus nine outdoor tennis courts and a large community center, will be accessible to our students and families during extended operating hours seven days a week, year-round. The location will become a gathering place for the neighborhood, encouraging greater parent participation, increasing staff/family dialogue, engaging families in program planning and providing meeting space for community needs. Our partnerships with the local preschools, public schools and charter schools will help us stretch beyond the children and families enrolled in our programs and touch the entire community.
The Arthur Ashe Children’s Program (AACP): The AACP serves children in second through eighth grades, in their communities at 24 DC Public Schools—16 elementary and eight middle schools—in Northeast and Southeast DC. Founded in 1992, the AACP provides an effective after-school program, combining academics, tennis and life skills activities to help at-risk DC youth. The AACP is held from 3:30 pm-5:30 pm four days a week, and operates in tandem with the school calendar, from early September through mid-June. The curriculum is competition-based. Students learn and practice academic and tennis skills, as well as general life skills, and then meet with other AACP school teams for three special competitions each year—the Academic Competition, Life Skills Competition (student written and produced skits on a given topic) and Tennis Championships. External studies have proven that children in the AACP
have significantly higher school promotion rates and significantly lower absence rates than students in the general school population. In 2008, theDC Public Schools imposed an intense new vetting process on all after schoolprograms. Nearly 800 programs applied for permission to operate in the schools.Due to the AACP’s past success and WTEF’s strong reputation, the DCPS askedWTEF to continue running programs in all its current schools, and to expand theAACP to several new locations.
The Center for Excellence (CFE): An intensive year-round academic and athletic program for students in the first through 12th grades, which meets each weekday during the academic year for four hours after school. The CFE offers students age-appropriate academic programs, mentoring and counseling, along with life skills training, tennis instruction and tennis competition. For older teens, the CFE helps students prepare to take standardized tests, including the SAT. We also provide guidance on the application process for students considering college. On the weekends, from 10:00 am-5:00 pm, the CFE students haveaccess to individual tennis and academic instruction, free court time and mentoring programs. During the summer, the CFE meets five days a week from 9:00 am-4:00 pm. The program has produced stunning results: For 14 consecutive years, 100% of CFE seniors have gained admission to college on academic or athletic scholarships or with financial aid packages. Most of our children had never visited a college campus until they took field trips withWTEF. Our graduates have been admitted to such renowned institutions as Morehouse, Princeton, Vanderbilt, and Williams.
WTEF has designed new programs that reach the youngest of children (ages2-5) who will ultimately matriculate to WTEF’s AACP and CFE programs. Partnerships have already been established with Ward 7 preschools and day care programs. In addition, The SEED Public Charter School, located behind the new facility, has partnered with WTEF to provide physical education programs for its students. WTEF will offer programs for adults and seniors and coaching assistance for high school tennis teams. WTEF will continue working to develop additional programs that best meet the community’s needs.