USTA, Public Allies place Mikella Matthias of Bronx, N.Y., in apprenticeship with Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program

December 10, 2010 09:36 AM
For the second straight year, the USTA is partnering with Public Allies, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation.  With funding from the USTA, Public Allies has placed one of its young leaders into a 10-month apprenticeship with the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program, a National Junior Tennis and Learning chapter in New York.  

Mikella Mathias, a 24-year-old from Bronx, N.Y., will spend her apprenticeship doing extensive outreach for the HJTEP, which has brought tennis and offered opportunities for self-development to more than 5,000 Harlem youth since its inception in 1972.

"I’m very pleased that the USTA and Public Allies are continuing this partnership," said Kevin Clayton, Chief Diversity Officer, USTA.  "The National Junior Tennis and Learning network serves as a model for fostering education through tennis and diversity, and we are honored that Public Allies views the NJTL as an ideal venue for its young leaders to develop their leadership skills."

"The Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program has been committed to developing responsible young adults in New York for more than 30 years," said Katrina Adams, Executive Director and President, Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program.  "We’re very excited that Public Allies and the USTA have identified our program as a place where this country’s young people can learn the skills necessary to become a future leader."

The USTA’s partnership with Public Allies is made possible through a joint effort by four USTA departments: Diversity, Community Tennis Development, National Junior Tennis and Learning, and Learning and Leadership Development. 

The partnership between the USTA and Public Allies began during the 2009-10 term with three Allies placed at NJTL chapters in Oakland, Calif., and Milwaukee, Wis.  The USTA and Public Allies are looking to expand the program for the 2011-2012 term with more young leaders placed in additional host sites.

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and through tennis, helps underserved youth and people with disabilities to improve academics, build character and strive for excellence. For more information on the USTA, log on to

Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation.  We are changing the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together.

Our signature AmeriCorps Ally Program identifies diverse young adults and prepares them for leadership through paid full-time nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership training.  This year, nearly 600 Allies are performing apprenticeships in 18 cities across America.  In the past 17 years, over 2,800 young adults have graduated from Public Allies’ Apprenticeship Program, and over 80% of them still work in the public sector.