Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn nonprofit brings tennis skills to housing projects

Kings County Tennis League serves over 500 students here

September 2, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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When Serena Williams defeated Danka Kovinic at last week’s U.S. Open match and received honors during her final game, a student from the Kings County Tennis League took part in the coin toss.

The Kings County Tennis League is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit serving more than 500 children living in five Central Brooklyn housing projects: Marcy, Sumner, Ingersoll, Tompkins, Lafayette Gardens and Jackie Robinson.

Photo courtesy of KCTL

The organization was founded by Brooklyn transplant Michael McCasland, whose “day job” is a criminalist who processes physical evidence and DNA for the NYC Medical Examiner’s Office and testifies in court cases. 

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Growing up in North Carolina, McCasland played competitive tennis. In Brooklyn, he noticed that there fewer opportunities for children from low-income households. He noticed a little-used tennis court at the Marcy Houses, which prompted him to found the organization.

In addition to teaching the basics of tennis, Kings County Tennis League teaches life skills and general youth development. 

Family Day is an important activity at the Kings County Tennis League. Photo courtesy of KCTL

This year, KCTL expanded to include college access, paid jobs and workforce readiness programs to support our older students as they prepare for their next big chapters,” the organization’s website says.

After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the KCTL began providing virtual classes for children living in public houses each week. Over the Zoom sessions, the kids practice some basic tennis skills, discuss their favorite tennis stars and participate in group workouts.

In 2021, KCTL received a $25,000 grant from Brooklyn Communities Collaborative. The grant from BCC “paid for the spring after-school program at three sites and for the current summer core program at all six sites,” said Nora Ryan, executive director of KCTL, said at the time.

A Kings County Tennis League instructor helps some young children get used to holding a racquet. Photo courtesy of KCTL
Photo courtesy of KCTL

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