Arthur Ashe Children’s Program 2017-03-01T15:44:09+00:00

Arthur Ashe Children’s Program (AACP)

Through the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program (AACP), WTEF enhances the health, safety and academic performance of 325 elementary and middle school students every school year. We provide academic, tennis, and life skills instruction to students after school at 16 schools in Washington, DC’s under-resourced neighborhoods. We hire teachers and aides from each school to implement our academic curriculum and dispatch our skilled coaches to provide the tennis instruction.

The vigorous exercise helps students with their physical fitness at a time when many public schools are cutting back on physical education classes. Academic support with homework and reinforcement of subject matter being taught in the classroom helps students improve their academic performance. In fact, 98% of AACP students are advanced to the next grade at the end of the school year. They also attend more school than their peers, missing only four days per year, compared to the school system average of 12 absences per year per student.

Students meet four days a week from 3:30pm to 5:30pm, right in the heart of the hours (3:00pm – 6:00pm) when research shows that children are most vulnerable to bad influences. First, the children have a snack and work on their homework with the help of their teacher and aide. Then, for two days a week in the fall and early winter they train and compete in academics. The other two days per week are for tennis instruction, conducted on half-sized courts in the school gym. Softer-than-regulation balls slow the game down a bit, so children progress more quickly in acquiring tennis skills, which makes the whole experience more fun!

The Academic Competition allows for students from different grades to compete on the same team. Age-appropriate questions in math and English test the students’ skills. They win points for their team for every correct answer. Several weeks of preparation and practice quizzing lead to competition among schools for the title of AACP Academic Champion.

In the late winter, tennis instruction continues two days a week, and the students take up the Life Skills Competition for the other two days. Each school chooses a topic, for instance, how to deal with bullying, or staying out of gangs. The students research, write and perform a skit on the topic for a panel of judges who determines the winner of the Life Skills Competition. Along the way, students learn to work as team, conduct research, hone their writing, and perform in front of a group.

When the weather improves in the spring, the focus turns to tennis four days a week, culminating in Tennis Meets where the students get to show off their tennis skills and a school is crowned as the Tennis Champion.

Thousands of students have participated in the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program since its inception in 1993. Fully 65% of the students come to the program every day, compared to an average daily attendance of 45% among high-performing after-school programs nationally and a like number return the following year to continue the program. A year-end survey of students reveals that 96% consider the AACP staff to be role models and 95% would recommend the program to other students. Our survey of teachers reveals that the AACP helps students improve their study skills, gain knowledge and confidence.

To see if your child’s school offers the AACP, contact program director Jeff Thomas at or 202-660-0133.

Participating schools include:

Fund the Future of a child in the AACP with your gift of $1,000.