Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: A’s & Aces

“I can’t.” These two words have obstructed all of us at some point in our lives. Our thoughts have the power to debilitate us if we allow them.

Renee is in our most beginner level of tennis instruction. She is seven years old, but is not at the same fitness level as many of the other participants. At one of our recent weekly practices, the focus was footwork. Practice consisted of some tennis drills, but mostly different routines on a rope ladder and jump rope competitions. The rope ladder proved at first to be a difficulty for Renee. (And all of the kids, honestly—it’s supposed to be a challenge!) However, instead of continuing to practice, she hid to the side of line hoping to avoid her turn. She was convinced she could not jump through the ladder course. “I can’t do it,” she said numerous times. She become disengaged and upset over the activity.

Fancy footwork!

Fancy footwork!

From my observation of her behavior, I had doubts that she would continue participating. However, unwavering encouragement from our coaches and support from her teammates coaxed her back into the activity. Renee decided to keep trying. “This is fun!” came a few minutes later. She not only was able to complete the rope ladder course, but ended up liking it.

Incidents like these, I feel, are among the greatest successes of A’s & Aces. Too many times, a similar situation happens on the playground or at recess, and peers become bullies and adults are either absent or apathetic. Without the support from her coaches and teammates, Renee’s lack of self-confidence would have literally left her on the sidelines.

Empowering women starts with empowering girls. Encouraging self-confidence at a young age makes a significant positive impact on their future. It’s a good thing that there are these fabulous sports-based youth development programs (like A’s & Aces!) around to help with that.




This entry was posted on October 24, 2014 by in VISTA Field Reports.


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