Photo: Jane Finch Community Tennis Association

The relationship between the Jane Finch Community Tennis Association (JFCTA) in Toronto and Tennis Canada has been a successful one that dates back 16 years. Recently, it was solidified thanks to the newly-established Game. Set. Equity. Community Tennis Grant presented by National Bank that will assist the JFCTA with their Coaching Certification Stream.

The funding provided by the grant will expand the program’s capacity in training and its ability to subsidize female participants between the ages of 13-24 who wish to obtain their Instructor Certification and Community Tennis Facilitator status. The Coaching Stream provides 48 hours of on-court tennis development over 8 weeks and this year, 29 women took part with four of them receiving subsidies to pursue the instructor certifications.

The JFCTA not only aims to make tennis more appealing to women, but they also want to create employment opportunities in the sport and an economic pathway with social implications that will help underserved communities including the Neighborhood Improvement Areas of Black-Creek, Glenfield-Jane Heights, and York University Heights as identified by the city of Toronto. The composition of these neighbourhoods has higher averages of low-income households, racialized and immigrant backgrounds, and single-parent families when compared to the city averages. By leveraging professional development as the centrepiece, the JFCTA will encourage parents and guardians to see the value of female participation in sports.

“The funding will provide an incredible opportunity to support the development of our female members as coaches and tennis facilitators. It is our belief that their successful certification will inspire and motivate other female participants to play and one day follow in their footsteps,” explained Alan Ma, Manager of Special Projects & Initiatives, Jane Finch Community Tennis Association.

The JFCTA will be taking part in several activities surrounding the National Bank presented by Rogers in Toronto including the Unmatched conference featuring keynote speaker Maria Sharapova as well as a Centre Court demonstration on Thursday evening with members of their Girls Program.

Since the return to in-person programming following the COVID-19 pandemic, the JFCTA has steadily built back its strength and capacity thanks in large part to the women and girls in the program who have gone above and beyond to ensure that they can serve over 200 participants per year. That’s one of the many reasons why Ma is so committed to creating occasions for them to grow and have a measurable impact in tennis, the sport they love so much.