Since 1989, the Joy of Sports Foundation (JSF) has been making a difference in the lives of at-risk children in the Washington, DC area. JSF programs have served more than 6,0000 area children and have been recognized as models by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the United States Tennis Association, and the Washington, DC Association for the Education of Young Children. The Joy of Sports Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to use sports to assist children, particularly those growing up in disadvantaged circumstances, in fully developing themselves in body, mind, and spirit and learning life success skills. Andrew Oser, a local tennis pro, with a desire to serve children from low-income families, founded the organization.
For the past 10 years, JSF has been utilizing “The Star Program” and “Tennis Plus” to enrich to lives of those it serves. The Star Program is an integrated series of physical games and exercises designed to teach children five key life success skills – self-esteem, concentration, relaxation, cooperation and imagination. The Star Program is being used in schools, recreation center, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Head Start programs, and has served more than 500 youngsters. The recently published instructor’s guide for the program now makes it possible for children around the country to enjoy the benefits of the Star Program.
Tennis Plus utilizes tennis instruction and academic enrichment to help children develop the self-esteem and skills to succeed in school and in life. Using the innovative “Effortless Tennis” approach created by JSF Executive Director, Andrew Oser, children improve their concentration and self-esteem, while learning the basic tennis strokes. The academic side of Tennis Plus features Adopt-A-Watershed, an innovative hands-on environmental education program, which helps children learn science, math, and English in an integrated, enjoyable way. Tennis Plus has been serving Alexandria youngsters year-round since 1994 and has been recognized by the IBM/ATP Tour and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
JSF recently launched a multi-faceted Training and Public Education Program designed to impact youth sports in the Washington, DC area and nationally. JSF provides training for coaches and youth program leaders on how to most effectively build life success skills through sports.
JSF’s accomplishments include:
- providing 4,000 children in some of DC’s worst neighborhoods with a program of physical activities
- administering an after-school basketball program for more than 50 D.C. youth, providing an alternative to street life
- partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs to bring tennis programs to more than 300 children in public housing and other low-income neighborhoods
All of JSF’s achievements have been made possible primarily through volunteer support. More than 200 volunteers work directly with the children in JSF programs, serving as coaches and mentors. Many JSF volunteers are teen leaders who provide excellent role models for the younger children in JSF programs.