Building a Pathway to
Tenacity programs meet a critical need for positive, enriching after-school, in-school and summer programs for Boston youth. Tennis and fitness activities are the magnets drawing interest from kids who might otherwise have few athletic outlets. These athletic activities are closely integrated with literacy, tutoring, and mentoring programs to help build academic motivation and achievement. We put special emphasis on helping students navigate the pivotal transition periods between middle school and high school and high school and post-secondary pursuits like college, joining the military, or learning a trade.
Established in 2011, the Elementary Program introduces 4th and 5th grade students to the game of tennis and to the Tenacity Pathway.
Middle School Academy
Offered in partnership with five Boston Public Schools, Middle School Academy is our core school-year program, combining academic enrichment with family engagement, tennis instruction, fitness coaching, and life skills.
For high school students who have completed our Middle School Academy, College Prep provides academic support services emphasizing graduation and preparing for college or other post-secondary endeavors.
Post-Secondary Services promotes the continued success of our post-secondary students as they face the challenges of college or other post-secondary pursuits leading to productive and rewarding lives.
Since 1999, Tenacity has helped over 40,000 students build a foundation for lifelong achievement through in-school, after-school and summer programs that provide tools for excellence in school, career, and life.
Literacy is the core of a successful education.
Boston Public Schools have made literacy one of their top priorities for preparing students for the 21st Century. Tenacity strives to complement our students’ school day learning through our own literacy curriculum. In addition to the concrete literacy skills students need for academic success in all subjects, teaching literacy provides a pathway for focusing on life skills. Reading and writing allows children to find positive ways to express themselves and their stories, and to learn the connections between themselves and the broader community.
In working with urban youth, Tenacity has witnessed firsthand the positive effects of extracurricular literacy programs. Our school year and summer programs complement the City of Boston’s Public Schools curriculum while promoting the lifelong enjoyment of reading, critical thought and group communication. We deliberately connect to the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Learning Standards in the Language, Reading and Literacy, and Composition strands.
Tennis demands exceptional mental and physical capabilities from the individual athlete. On the practice court, the tennis player must objectively assess and address his own weaknesses to register real improvement. In match play, the successful player is both coach and student, creating and executing a strategy playing to his or her own strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses.
The game of tennis helps a young person become both more self-aware and self-confident; more physically fit and mentally tough; more highly motivated on and off the court.
For under-served kids in urban neighborhoods with high rates of gang-related crime and violence and academic underachievement, the qualities of individual responsibility, good citizenship, inner self-confidence and effective self-control are not abstract aspirations, but essential life skills. At Tenacity, we observe on a daily basis that the sport of tennis is particularly effective in promoting these important qualities for our program participants.
- Tennis is an individual sport which is competitive and collaborative at the same time. In tennis, the greatest shots and matches result from player interaction. And tennis, unlike many other individual sports, requires competitive participants to be honest referees as well. Tennis players must be strong and confident individuals, but good sports and citizens as well.
- Few sports are at the same time as physical and cerebral as tennis, requiring stamina and quickness, sudden conviction and exceptional patience. That’s why Tenacity helps young players improve their ability to focus their thoughts while developing physical strength, speed and flexibility.
- Aspiring players watching the professional game of tennis rarely if ever see disputes erupt into the physical violence common in many team sports. Thus young tennis players tend to develop a higher degree of civility and self-control than many other young athletes.
Is tennis involvement a magic bullet for young urban kids? Unfortunately not. But, in combination with academic and life skills tutoring, we observe a substantial, sustainable impact on our program participants. Tenacity promotes tennis for urban youth because tennis promotes tenacity– a measured, responsible form of tenacity which can be instrumental to kids throughout their personal and professional development.
Tenacity believes that the literacy and tennis skills that our young people learn in our programs are much more valuable when coupled with the life skills necessary to be successful students and citizens. Our focus revolves around helping students build the capacity to understand themselves and others. We expect that by the time our students enter high school, they are equipped with tools such as empathy, respect, responsibility, and teamwork.
At Tenacity, we refer to these abilities as “resilience.” Resilient young people make healthy choices, remain strong, and even thrive when faced with challenges. They are able to adapt to difficult situations by turning to the internal and external resources, or assets, available to them.
The staff at Tenacity see it as our responsibility to support our students in developing as many of these assets as possible. These range from imbuing in our students a positive sense of self, to fostering a love of reading, and to providing positive adult role models. Research has shown that the more assets a young person has, the more likely he or she will experience healthy and safe adolescent development.
Fostering resilience in middle school youth does not happen quickly, nor can we do it alone. This is why students commit to three years in our Middle School Academy program, and why our staff partners closely with our students’ school-day teachers and families. The Middle School Academy experience begins with a home visit where we set the stage for ongoing communication between the program and the family.
As we build these relationships with our students’ families, we also work with their teachers and schools. One of the primary ways we help maintain and grow our children’s resilience is by serving as a bridge between their multiple worlds. Children and families learn early on that through their commitment to Tenacity, they will receive support and information that helps them navigate school and community life. In turn, school professionals know they can turn to Tenacity to think of new ways to reach families. Membership in the Tenacity community truly serves as a hub for learning and growth.
Being resilient is a positive outcome on its own. Our experience has also shown that when students feel cared for and part of the Tenacity community, they are more prepared for challenges on the courts and in the classroom.