EXPANSION GRANT RECIPIENTS
After careful evaluation and recommendation from the Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to award the Vineyard Youth Tennis with a grant for $250,000 to support their excellent work for Island children, teens and young adults. Other grant awards will be announced in February. Synopses and images below outline the award-winning proposals.
VINEYARD YOUTH TENNIS
Mission: To provide tennis instruction to school-aged children through a combination of year-round progressive instruction, training and match play, VYT cultivates proficiency in a life-sport as well as instills the qualities of sportsmanship, commitment, perseverance and character in young people.
Funds from MVYouth will enable VYT to purchase a new tennis “bubble” to replace the aged one that collapsed in March 2018 and deemed beyond repair. The new bubble will allow the organization to continue to offer instruction to students year-round. MVYouth’s Advisory Board and Trustees voted to support VYT ahead of schedule in their 2019 Expansion Grant cycle in order to expedite the purchase of the bubble and preempt interruption of winter instruction.
VYT’s mission is to cultivate proficiency in a life-sport and instill the qualities of sportsmanship, commitment, perseverance and character in young people. VYT was founded 20 years ago through the generosity and vision of West Tisbury resident, Gerald De Blois, who financially supported the program throughout its existence. The program started as an after-school activity with an enrollment of 20 children. It has grown into a year-round program which serves approximately 300 kids annually at their four-court facility near the rotary in Oak Bluffs.
VYT’s proximity to MVRHS has enabled a strong partnership to be developed. MVRHS Varsity Boys and Girls teams, whose players were nurtured in VYT’s youth programs, won six State Championships in the past seven years. VYT hopes to expand their programmatic offerings to serve 18-25 year olds through a mentorship program, in which high school graduates can continue to play and participate as mentors and instructors of elementary and middle school children. VYT is also eager to expand their partnership with the Y to offer members tennis benefits.
VYT recently gained approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Oak Bluffs Selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals to allow adult play at the facility when youth programs are not in session. Fees collected from adult players will subsidize youth programs and establish a sustainable funding model to replace the generous support of their sole beneficiary, which ended in August 2018. For the first 20 years of their operating history, VYT’s programs were offered free for all participants. Under a new operating model, they will continue to offer free introductory six-week sessions to any child wishing to participate, followed by nominal fees for instruction at upper levels. VYT has established a scholarship program for families requiring assistance with new program fees.