The Lansing program gives underprivileged children the opportunity to learn tennis

LANSING, Mich. – The Letts Community Center in downtown Lansing is home to the Todd Martin Youth Leadership (TMYL) after-school tennis program. The program offers students from disadvantaged areas the opportunity to play tennis.

“The goal is to provide access to academic support as well as life skills and teach tennis to underfunded families in Lansing,” said Cody Cross, TMYL’s director of tennis.

We had the chance to talk and play tennis with third grader Jayden Hobbs. I asked him what he liked best about tennis.

“I’m learning how to connect with others and learning new and different things about the sport,” Jayden told me.

Solona Fuentes is TMYL’s tennis coordinator. She was once on the show and can now lead on the other side.

“It’s really cool to be able to see me and even let the kids know it was me when I was your guys’ age, so like you guys can be in the same position,” Fuentes said.

Longtime Michigan State tennis coach Gene Orlando started helping TMYL when he started at MSU, and now after his retirement he has continued to do so.

“I was able to help and be part of the start, and 31 years later I probably even have the opportunity to give more,” Orlando said.

It’s also a special month at the Letts Community Center, with May being National Tennis Month. They are hosting a free community event on Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m. to noon where families can do tennis drills for the whole family. More information about the event can be found here.

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