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USTA and Camden nonprofit teaming up to boost kids' self-confidence

May 6, 2015 12:06 PM

CAMDEN, S.C. – Leaders from the Family Resource Center knew they had to act when they heard area students describing their anxieties about body image.

“I don’t like the way I look,” shared one girl. “People laugh at me,” said another student. “I wish I wasn’t so big.”

Donetta Bracey and Rosalyn Moses of the Family Resource Center wanted a way to help the kids gain confidence. They decided on tennis – a proven way to help students become more active and self-confident.

On Saturday, the Family Resource Center and the South Carolina office of the U.S. Tennis Association will take the first steps toward those students gaining more self-confidence. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., USTA staff members will train about 15 resource center staff members and volunteers on how to teach tennis to kids.

The workshop, which will be held at the Lugoff-Elgin Middle School, will help area leaders learn the basics of teaching tennis to children, such as how children should properly grip a tennis racket and how they should practice good sportsmanship and shake their opponents’ hands after matches.

“We’re eager to work with the resource center staff and help them help children,” said Pamela Banks, USTA South Carolina’s junior recreation coordinator, who will be leading Saturday’s workshop. “Tennis is a great way for children and adults to become active and stay fit throughout their entire lives.”

The USTA works to make educational tennis programs affordable for organizations like the Family Resource Center. The Camden nonprofit is now an organizational member of the USTA.

For just $35 a year, the resource center receives a USTA School Tennis Curriculum Kit, access to discounted equipment, support through resource materials, training and workshops, and the eligibility to apply and receive financial grants.

The affordability of the program was important to Moses, the resource center’s executive director. “You have to watch every dollar,” she said. “You want to make sure what you’re doing is going to have an impact on children.”

Tennis will be one way the resource center helps improve kids’ self-esteem. After listening to the students discuss their worries, Bracey said she and Moses had no choice but to immediately think of ways to help. “What they tell us we try to act on,” said Bracey, the center’s teen health director.

She’s excited about more people in the center’s service area, Kershaw and Lee Counties, gaining self-confidence through tennis.