Victoria, BC – The Society for Kids at Tennis (KATS) has continued its remarkable growth, with close to 3,000 disadvantaged children and youth participating last year. Since their first class in May 2014, KATS’ total attendances now reached 12.754 children.
Established in 2013 by Dr. Sy Silverberg, the Society for Kids at Tennis (KATS) has provided physical and emotional support for children with financial circumstances in their family that limit their access to healthy sports. With KATS’ phenomenal team, which is comprised of 17 Tennis Professionals and 54 volunteers, the program has continued its remarkable growth, with close to 3,000 disadvantaged children and youth participating in 2019 alone. KATS currently provides free tennis lessons to 23 low-income neighbourhood schools and 23 social agencies covering most of the Capital Regional District (Sidney to Sooke).
Initially focused on children facing challenges due to family finances, the program later expanded and began working with those disadvantaged by developmental disabilities including Autism, Down syndrome, and wheelchair disabilities. These programs have afforded children and youth from all walks of life with the opportunity to try tennis and enjoy physical exercise, while also facilitating the development of self-worth and self-esteem generated through the building of relationships with coaches and peers.
The impact that KATS is having on kids is attested to by the internal surveys the organization has conducted of parents, coaches, volunteers and organization staff. In addition, “before” and “after” surveys conducted by the University of Waterloo Faculty of Applied Health Sciences have confirmed the positive benefits.
KATS believes that they are achieving their goal of showing kids that healthy physical activity can be more fun than “screen” play, which is sedentary and isolating, and is leading to alarming increases in health issues such as childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.