Former tennis stars Lindsay Davenport and Brad Gilbert will help the East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring (EPATT) after-school program for underserved kids in the local community host its second EPATT Kids Cup Pro-Am Tennis Tournament at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center on Saturday.
The Kids Cup fundraiser is expected to raise $100,000 for Project Rally, EPATT's new early literacy pilot program for at-risk students in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD).
The tournament features world class tennis celebrities and former professional tennis players, including Davenport, a former world No. 1 player, and Gilbert, a former world No. 4 and current TV tennis commentator.
Former Stanford tennis players contributing to the day include Lauren Barnikow, Erin Burdette, Scott Davis, Dan Goldie, Marissa Irvin Gould, Jim Grabb, Jared Palmer, Laxmi Porui, Jeff Salzenstein, Jonathan Stark and Jeff Tarango.
Pros are assigned to 18 amateur teams competing in a round-robin doubles tournament. The morning (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) features 12 teams competing for the Wimbledon championship and the afternoon program (1-4:30 p.m.) includes six teams competing for the Monte Carlo championship. The tournament is free and open to the public.
"Working with PAUSD," said Dave Higaki, EPATT Executive Director, "has been such a positive experience. We are eager to launch Project Rally to help ensure that Volunteer Transfer Program (Tinsley) students in PAUSD are reading at or above grade level. We're grateful to the players and the pros for their support and we know they'll have an entertaining time playing together in the Kids Cup for a great cause."
"Last year's Kids Cup (which featured Tracy Austin) was so special and this year promises to be even better, thanks to the hard work of our passionate tournament director, Scott Russell," said Dick Gould, Stanford University's John L. Hinds Director of Tennis. "EPATT is such an important program and the Kids Cup is a great way of supporting EPATT while hosting world-class tennis."
Project Rally, a partnership of EPATT and PAUSD, is an after-school pilot program designed to narrow the achievement gap by providing academic, physical, and social-emotional support to elementary school-aged students and empowering their parents to effectively advocate for and help their children read proficiently at or above grade level. Project Rally will be housed at Fairmeadow Elementary School in Palo Alto and will hopefully expand to other sites and districts over time.
"Project Rally aims to rally parents, educators, students, schools, communities, and volunteers toward a common goal of equipping our students with the competencies, confidence, and experiences to be competitive and successful in school and in life by inspiring, educating, empowering, and engaging their parents and by providing one-on-one tutoring and tennis instruction," explains Kesha Weekes, EPATT's Academic Director. "Research shows how critical it is for a child to be reading at grade level by third grade. Project Rally will help at-risk PAUSD students raise their game so they don't fall behind in school -- they they actually excel at school."
Offering a unique blend of academic support, tennis training, and parent coaching, EPATT's after-school program impacts K-12 underserved students from 43 schools in school districts across San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Housed on the Stanford University campus, EPATT combines academics, tennis, field trips, college counseling, and parent coaching to achieve a 100 percent high school graduation rate, nearly three times the average East Palo Alto graduation rate.
Since 1988, EPATT has been a game-changer for underserved kids. One of the top programs of its kind in the United States. Approximately 170 Stanford students volunteer as EPATT academic tutors each year.