The International Tennis Hall of Fame awarded the president and founder of Tenacity, Inc. — a tennis and enrichment program for 6,500 youths in Boston and Worcester — with a 2012 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Award on Saturday.
A former pro tennis player, Ned Eames started Tenacity 13 years ago with the mission of improving the academic, character, and physical development of urban youth by combining tennis instruction and competition with literacy instruction and life skills development. The program includes intensive school-year and summer programs.
Eames received the award during the International Tennis Hall of Fame annual awards luncheon alongside former New York Mayor David Dinkins and former tennis pro Kathy Rinaldi, who is a national coach in USTA Player Development.
“At Tenacity, Inc., in Boston, Ned has developed one of the country's finest National Junior Tennis & Learning organizations, opening the doors to education and opportunity for thousands of children,” Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “These three individuals have applied their love of tennis to such important work, ultimately growing the sport and helping so many individuals. We are grateful for all that they do for tennis and we are pleased to recognize their dedication and accomplishments."
Tenacity is the second largest of the USTA's 660 National Junior Tennis & Learning Chapters.
Tenacity includes a three-year Middle School Academy, which it credits for the academic success of its students.
In 2012, Boston public school eighth-graders in the Tenacity program scored 35 percent higher in English, language, and arts proficiency on the MCAS test than BPS eighth-graders not enrolled in the program. The program also graduates about 95 percent of its students enrolled in BPS, a district with a 40 percent dropout rate.
Eames, who serves as a member of the USTA's Strategic & Creative Planning Committee, played professionally on the ATP Satellite Tour from 1983-85.
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