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Serving Up Tennis with Colorado SERVES

Summer is in full swing, and the Denver Tennis Park (DTP) is excited to be out in the community with Colorado SERVES! As a nonprofit dedicated to advancing youth development through equitable access to tennis, we believe every child should have the opportunity to experience the sport’s positive impact. Our community programs, like Colorado SERVES, are designed to be fun, engaging, and accessible, providing an excellent opportunity for youth and their families to be introduced to the world of tennis. In early June 2024, Colorado SERVES kicked off its third summer of free tennis in the community with programs hosted at Abraham Lincoln High School in Southwest Denver (Saturdays) and Northfield High School in Northeast Denver (Sundays).

SERVES began as USTA Colorado Star Search, offering high quality tennis instruction on community courts across the Denver-metro area. This commitment to fostering young talent from diverse communities continued when the program found a permanent home with the DTP in 2018, transforming into USTA Colorado SERVES. 

More than just tennis instruction, Colorado SERVES embodies a core set of values: Success, Education, Respect, Values, Excellence, and Self-Confidence (SERVES). These values are woven into every aspect of the program, creating a supportive environment where all children can thrive.

SERVES prioritizes providing tennis and coaching to underrepresented youth in Denver's diverse communities. It does this with a firm belief that every child, regardless of their economic background or ethnicity, deserves the opportunity to learn the game of tennis and develop skills that will benefit them both on and off the court.

This summer, Colorado SERVES is off to a great start and buzzing with positive energy. From the moment DTP’s Community Outreach Manager Sonia Schwartz warmly welcomes players and families at check-in, you know your family is in caring hands. This sense of community extends to the dedicated coaches, like Coach Mark Thalhofer ("THoff"), Coach Louis, Coach Lorena, Coach Juan, and Coach Cannon, whose constant encouragement keeps the fun and learning going. The program's spirit extends beyond its staff – a vibrant volunteer and parent community is actively involved on-court and on the sidelines, encouraging young players to jump on the tennis court and reach their full potential; among the volunteers is DTP board member and former NFL and Denver Broncos football player Brandon Lloyd!

A man teaching tennis to children.
DTP Board Member and former NFL and Denver Broncos Player Brandon Lloyd jumping on court at Colorado SERVES at Lincoln HS!

Sonia emphasizes SERVES and similar outreach programs as a springboard for young players and their families, calling it a "portal" to the Denver Tennis Park and its offerings. “This is an opportunity [for families] to really know what DTP is all about,” she explains. For kids curious about tennis but lacking the resources for programs and lessons, Colorado SERVES is the perfect entry point into the sport. The program goes beyond sparking excitement and skill development; it aims to build meaningful relationships with families and communities, encouraging deeper involvement with the DTP through year-round youth programming and youth scholarships.

This reflects a core value of the DTP – accessibility. The Denver Tennis Park is more than a facility; it is a community at large on a mission to change the narrative that tennis is exclusive. By hosting free or low-cost DTP programs on public courts, we are showing up for families in their communities for all to witness the magic of tennis in action!

A picture of a dad and a son holding a tennis racquet and popsicles.
Jasper and his father, David, at Colorado SERVES.

And that magic goes beyond the tennis court, as SERVES has successfully delivered not just tennis skills, but also lasting friendships. Take Esteban and Abril, for example. Both returning players – Esteban for his third year and Abril for her second – met and became close friends through the program in Southwest Denver. Similarly, Jasper, another returning member, discovered tennis through SERVES and has blossomed into a skilled player, aspiring to compete in high school and possibly even college.

This positive impact extends beyond the kids, as many parents find themselves actively involved with SERVES and the wider DTP community. Esteban’s father, Miguel, exemplifies this dedication. He serves on the DTP’s Community Advisory Board and volunteers as a language interpreter for the organization. Likewise, Jasper's father, David, has been a committed member of the advisory board for two years and remains heavily involved in Jasper’s tennis journey.

At the Denver Tennis Park, we're passionate about creating equal opportunities in tennis and equipping young people with skills that go beyond the court. Colorado SERVES is a shining example of this mission in action, and we can’t wait to see how players continue to grow throughout the summer and beyond!

To learn more about summer Colorado SERVES and how to register, visit our Community Programs page.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for all the latest DTP updates and to see what exciting things are unfolding at Colorado SERVES this summer!

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