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Volley Against Violence returns to Sportsmen's Tennis Center

Posted by Justin Rice  October 4, 2012 11:05 AM

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Volley Against Violence, a free tennis program for children and teens in Boston, will return to the Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center in Dorchester on Friday night.

The program, run by the Boston Police Department, will start at 6 p.m. at 950 Blue Hill Ave.

The program provides tennis instruction, life-skill development and mentoring to families during a safe and active Friday night for hundreds of Boston youth.

"Children as young as five and adults of all ages join in an evening of athletics, food, and community fellowship — free of charge," a press release for the program states. "VAV not only puts racquets in the hands of approximately 120 kids every weekend, but it has a unique ability to bridge gaps between police officers and families of the surrounding communities. In a dual sense, officers arrive weekly ready to protect and 'serve' alongside STEC’s tennis pro-staff."

The program was started in 2009 by BPD officer Frank G. Williams, Jr., who also serves on STEC’s board of directors. Williams, who provided tennis instruction to under-served youth in South Boston on public tennis courts, eventually started to drive students from South Boston to STEC to participate in Street Safe programming at STEC, funded
by The Boston Foundation.

"Both Williams and STEC Executive Director, Toni Wiley have worked tirelessly in ensuring the growth of VAV, under the leadership of STEC’s Director of Community Tennis, Jelani Haynes," the release says.

The program also received a grant from the Healthy Dorchester Initiative of Tufts Medical Center, which has allowed more than 900 Boston youth and families to participate in the free weekly programs, including DEUCE (for boys ages eight to twelve) as well as Sunday Community Tennis.

Sunday Community Tennis, which is open to all ages, will resume on Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at STEC.

To learn more about Volley Against Violence visit http://www.sportsmenstennisclub.org and the “Boston Police Tennis Program” Facebook page. You can also contact Officer Frank G. Williams at BPDTennis@gmail.com or fgwill50@gmail.com.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.