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Pictured below: Gene Hambrick '73, director of Earlham's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, works with Richmond youth as a volunteer coach with the Amigos tennis program.

Earlham volunteers fueling growth of Richmond youth tennis program

February 13, 2017

Amigos 1The youth tennis program at Amigos, Richmond’s Latino Center, is growing and is being recognized for its collaboration with Earlham.

On behalf of the program, Gene Hambrick '73, director of Earlham’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Howard Lamson, professor emeritus of Spanish, recently accepted the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) inaugural Brad Holmes Award for the central district in November. Hambrick is also a volunteer coach for the program.

“The Amigos group has a lot going on in terms of impact, exposure and growing the game, and it’s getting ready to blow up big by running expanded after school programs,” says Cameron Benjamin, USTA Service Representative for Indiana and Southern Chicago. “We have 20 CTAs (Community Tennis Associations) within central Indiana, and we were looking at what programs are teaching, which groups are they teaching, and how programs are engaging the community.”

Each session of the Amigos tennis program hosts about 30 participants ages 8-12, who meet for 60 minutes once per week in the spring, summer and fall. The youth learn the basics of tennis and hone their skills through drills, games, strokes and match play. Beginning in March, the program will double in size to include a 60-minute session for advanced instruction. 

“Gene worked with the USTA and created the initiative during the summer of 2015,” says Abigail Pollock, director of operations at Amigos. “It’s one of the biggest programs we have as far as youth participation. A lot of our volunteers come from Earlham, maybe 10 to 15 volunteers are affiliated with Earlham.”

Since its beginning, the program has received $8,250 in grant money from the USTA. Part of the money is used to purchase tennis equipment to use during the program. At the end of each season, new participants are given their own racquet to take home.

“It’s all about the kids,” Hambrick says. “Most of these kids have never held a tennis racquet.”

“We also like for them to have a ball, to encourage practice outside the program,” Lamson says.

In addition, 22 youth, volunteer coaches and parents attended the Western-Southern Open in Cincinnati on Hispanic Day in August. Amigos also sponsors a summer camp and play days, which include skills stations and a pizza party. Earlham tennis players assisted with the play day, and the event culminated with the kids attending an Earlham tennis match.

“This is a way for our players to give back to the community,” says first-year Earlham tennis coach Shawn Hyden.

Pollock says she would like for the program to continue to expand to include sessions for parents and competitive league play. To help facilitate the expansion, Jensen Pennock ’16 was hired as Amigos tennis program coordinator.

Pollock says the Amigos tennis program falls under the umbrella program, Vida Sana, Comida Sana, a food and health program that includes the community garden, which is located at Earlham’s Miller Farm.

“The focus is to get youth more active and healthy,” Pollock says.

Additional sponsors for the Amigos tennis program include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County, Indiana University East and Van Vleet Insurance.

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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