The National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Trenton youth through tennis, academic and life-skills programs. Founded in 1975 with three volunteers and 30 children, it was initially affiliated with the Philadelphia-based National Junior Tennis League founded by Arthur Ashe. Today, NJTLT is one of 300 chapters chartered by the United States Tennis Association Foundation.
The NJTLT delivers comprehensive services to more than 2,700 Trenton children annually through three programs, creating significant, documented opportunities for participants.
- The NJTLT Outreach program is comprised of an indoor program of introductory, beginner and advanced-beginner tennis instruction in 18 Trenton public schools, reaching 1,000+ children, and an outdoor component with an additional 450 participants in the spring, summer and fall at two local tennis facilities. Outreach also includes community events to generate recognition, interest and recruitment.
- The NJTLT-pioneered Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) is tied to National Education Standards and Common Core State Standards. It offers an hour of tennis instruction and an hour of academic enrichment two days/week in 12-week sessions. ACE is divided into three age-appropriate programs: Pre-K through 2nd grades, 3rd through 5th grades and 6th through 8th grades. In 2016, ACE served 500+ students. The ACE curriculum developed by NJTLT is today used by 55 chapters across the U.S.
- The NJTLT Ashe Student Athlete Program recruits Trenton students in third grade, providing tennis and life skills support through middle and high school. Ashe participants receive tennis training and equipment at no cost, and are eligible for employment, scholarships and mentoring programs with local organizations. Collaborations with Princeton University and Bloomberg LP offer workshops, mentoring and college guidance. In 2015 and 2016, the 24 NJTLT Ashe 12th grade participants had a college acceptance rate of 100% and secured $400,000+ in scholarships.
In 2010, NJTLT embarked on a public-private partnership to redevelop Trenton’s Cadwalader Park tennis facility. With the support of International Tennis Federation president Dave Haggerty, the City of Trenton and 55 private donors, NJTLT raised $1M. The tennis center, completed in 2014, features six renovated hard courts, 14 “10-and-under” short courts, a stadium court and a two-story pavilion. The Junior Champions Tennis Center at Cadwalader Park is one of the largest outdoor short-court development facilities in the United States, recognized as one of the USTA’s outstanding public tennis facilities.
The NJTLT plans to expand its programs to Newark in 2017. Currently, planning for an $80,000 redevelopment of the Villa Park tennis facility in Trenton is underway. The NJTLT three-year plan also calls for broadening our mentoring programs, increasing scholarship opportunities, developing an indoor tennis facility and establishing a new headquarters in Trenton.