Health through Tennis
According to the 2010 census, the City of Mission has a staggering 25.8% of its citizens currently living below the poverty line. Further, 88.6% of Mission’s residents, according to the same census, are Hispanic. A 2014 study found that obesity was more common in Latino children and adults than in white children and adults, and higher levels of physical activity has been linked with lower levels of obesity in numerous studies. Citizens raised concerns of obesity, diabetes and other health issues to the city council a few years ago, and a keen interest in tennis became a part of the solution.
To increase exercise and physical activity and decrease obesity-related illnesses.
City leaders began work on the creation of a tennis complex that would encourage the local community to get out and exercise. The city began working with its residents and started researching ways to put this project into action. In 2017, with the help of the United States Tennis Federation and other local tennis coaches and community members, the city was able to secure a $500,000 grant from a local foundation. Along with this grant, they were able to leverage the funds and secure an additional half million dollars from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the city also committed $500,000 of its own funds towards the project.
The city fully comprehends that to much of its population, the cost of owning the required tennis gear is too great, so the city made a substantial addition to the project. City leaders opted to add a tennis equipment area where residents can borrow the gear for free, so they can also play tennis, while eliminating the cost.
The City of Mission has also begun to partner with a nonprofit organization that helps provide tennis tournaments for blind children and adults. In 2015, the city hosted its first national blind tennis tournament where athletes from both Mexico and the USA participated. This event was a pronounced success since it allowed for community members with vision impairment to take part in a sport as well as stay active. With the construction of the new tennis complex, the city is anxious to host larger tournaments for the blind community. Visually impaired residents will be represented in this project and they have communicated with community leaders, how excited they are for the tennis complex to be complete in order to have more people participate in the sport.
Mission community members and businesses have been quite involved with the tennis program, including helping to create a tennis equipment area where residents can borrow gear for free. Mission has also begun to partner with a nonprofit organization that helps provide tennis tournaments for blind children and adults. The city is anxious to host larger tournaments for the blind community once the new tennis complex is complete.
Construction of the tennis complex is still underway. In the meantime, the city has hosted a tennis tournament for blind children and adults as well as provided tennis equipment to residents free of charge.
Mission, TX– 2019 AAC Winner: Presentation
Brad Bentsen, Director
Parks and Recreation Department
721 N. Bryan Rd., Mission, TX 78572