Dorchester’s Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center will be kicking-off another season of its Volley Against Violence program this weekend.
The initiative aims to provide alternatives, such as tennis and sports, to the violence seen on the streets in some of Boston’s neighborhoods.
“What we find is that tennis gives us the opportunity to work with the kids on critical life skills,” said Toni Wiley, executive director of STEC. “Instead of feeling like they are in a class they are just having fun and playing a sport.”
This is the fourth-year the Blue Hill Avenue gym has held the program, which is sponsored in part by the Boston Police Department.
“We want to help the kids understand that there is always another way to handle a conflict,” said Wiley. “If you handle it with violence there won’t be a good outcome and that’s the message we are really pushing.”
Targeting youth as young as five, the initiative has served over 900 area children since 2009, building a bridge in the community with tennis.
“There is always a lot of excitement when the kids pick up the racket for the first time,” said Wiley. “You can make choice about how you handle a conflict and that’s what we are trying to teach.”
To find out more about Volley Against Violence and other programs offered through the center, click here.