New York Junior Tennis & Learning will celebrate 51 years of service at its “For Scholars, For Athletes, For New York City” gala on May 2, 2023 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown Manhattan. The nonprofit’s second-ever nighttime event, this year’s gala will provide a night of tennis, reflection, and dancing in the company of like-minded champions who will honor the lasting legacy of the organization and champion the growth and opportunities ahead.
“I am proud to be part of an organization that is committed to leveling the playing field — not just in tennis, but in providing academic enrichment opportunities and mental health support systems,” said Udai Tambar, President and CEO of New York Junior Tennis & Learning. “Throughout our history, NYJTL has been a home to 85,000 youth and countless dedicated staff who have joined together to bring positivity and light to their communities. It is a joy to celebrate this year and to honor those who make it easy to love what you do.”
Tickets to the gala — which will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by a program, dinner and dancing — can be purchased at nyjtl.org/annual-gala/.
The gala will honor Larry Leeds — who brought the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning to life — and Stuart Weitzman — a champion of the organization’s Scholar Athlete Program — with the Charles B. Benenson Leadership Award for their many years of dedication to tennis and the community, both on and off the court.
The event will also feature many special guests such as Cari Champion, host of The Cari Champion Show on Amazon Prime Video Sports Talk and former host of the Tennis Channel and ESPN2’s First Take, who will be the emcee over the course of the evening.
The organization’s 2022-2023 season has been a particularly impactful one. Over the summer, NYJTL partnered with Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work to bring social work interns and a social worker to its ACES Afterschool programming, which serves nearly 5,000 youth in more than 30 afterschool programs around the city. As the youth mental health crisis persists in this country, NYJTL recognized the importance of ensuring that its youth feel comfortable and open in speaking about their mental health challenges.
Additionally, NYJTL began its Holding Court: Player Series this year and invited former professional tennis players Lori McNeil and Chris Eubanks to the Cary Leeds Center to provide free tennis instruction and academic support to hundreds of youth in underserved communities, making for a day of fun activities and learning experiences.
The organization also had a week of success with its annual President’s Cup, a tournament for kids part of its renowned Community Tennis Program, which provides youth ages 5-18 with free tennis instruction from trained coaches in schools and public parks in all 51 New York City council districts year round.
These are just a few examples of the work done this year. Since the organization was founded in 1971, it has reached significant milestones that have greatly contributed to the well-being of hundreds of thousands of New York City’s youth. In 2015, NYJTL opened the Cary Leeds Center, an indoor and outdoor space with 22 courts in the south Bronx that now provides more than 6,000 hours of free court time to underserved youth throughout New York City. And in 2022, NYJTL launched its Scholar Athlete Program, offering youth in grades 3-12 in-depth tennis instruction, educational enrichment, and college preparedness with the goal of 100% high school graduation and college entrance to create socioeconomic mobility.
For more information about the celebration and to purchase tickets that will support underserved NYC youth, please visit: https://www.nyjtl.org/annual-gala/