WTEF’s two afterschool programs, the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program and the Center for Excellence, are in full swing.

Delivered at 22 schools four days a week after classes end, the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program provides nearly 400 kids with academic and life skills activities as well as tennis instruction.

The academic portion of the program is delivered by a teacher and aide from the school. It can be tricky, because the children are of all different ages, grades one through eight, and they’ve just come off a full day of school. So, how do we get them all engaged?

The answer is competition. After a few weeks of preparation, the students compete as a team against other schools throughout the fall and early winter months in a quiz show format. Children who answer a question correctly win a point for their team. The questions are age and grade appropriate, so six-year-olds can compete alongside 12-year-olds. A spirited round of matches concludes with playoffs and a championship.    

A life skills competition enlivens the late winter and spring. In this, the children write and perform their own skits about serious issues, like staying out of gangs or dealing with bullying.

Throughout the school year, half the days feature tennis (after homework and a snack) and half the academic and life skills competitions.

Our more intensive Center for Excellence is serving more than 100 children and youth this school year at our East Capitol Campus, located a mile east of the Anacostia River and just off of East Capitol Street. For three hours every school day, our students work to improve their academic performance, play tennis, and develop good character.

With one teacher for every four students, the children and youth in the Center for Excellence get individualized attention that helps them make great strides in their school work.

Located in Ward 7, the East Capitol Campus serves many children who deal with poverty and violence on a daily basis. As one would expect to find among underserved children, these students had poor academic standing when they joined us at our new location 2 ½ years ago. Most of the children were two or three grade levels behind in both math and reading.

Today, because of the skilled, caring, and individualized attention they get at WTEF’s Center for Excellence, nearly all of the children and youth are at grade level or higher in math and they are closing in on their grade levels in reading. Meanwhile, our students are learning important life skills like good sportsmanship, how to behave as young ladies and gentlemen, and sound nutrition.

Through the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program and Center for Excellence, WTEF is providing afterschool safety, support, academic enrichment and fun to hundreds of underserved children in the District every year.

WTEF's Congressional Tennis Tournament A Success!


The courts and halls of the East Capitol Campus ring with the laughter of little children every week day between 10 and noon. The Tennis Tots are back!

In this innovative program, WTEF introduces more than 350 children, ages two through four, to tennis. There are many programs around the country that set out to engage children in tennis, but we believe the Tennis Tots is unique in working with children this young.

Over-sized tennis balls made of foam slow the game down and help the little ones get the hang of hitting the ball. Regulation tennis balls set on traffic cones also make for inviting targets for tiny racquets.

Using the Quick Start Program of the USTA (United States Tennis Association), our skilled – and very patient – coaches help the children learn to play the game. Meanwhile, the children are developing their abilities to listen and follow directions, as well as their gross motor skills, all while having lots of fun!


This year’s Congressional Charity Tennis Tournament was held at WTEF’s East Capitol Campus on a crisp fall day on Monday, September 28. Co-Chairs Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Representative Ed Whitfield joined by their colleagues, Representatives Charlie Dent, Jared Huffman, Ralph Abraham, Luke Messer, Bobby Scott, Fred Upton, and Sen. Tom Udall as well as Tennis legends and sponsors, came together to play tennis and support WTEF’s award winning programs.

The day was filled with a healthy dose of friendly competition and fun was had by all! Our winners included Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Sen. Tom Udall, Habib Debs, Rep. Jared Huffman, Board member Manny Ortiz, staffer Lauren Russell, Rep. Bobby Scott, and Andy Blocker. At the end of the day, the true winners are our student athletes as all tournament proceeds went to support WTEF’s vital programs that touch the lives of more than 1,200 children and youth annually.