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Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in Crotona Park will be nonprofit program’s third NYC site

Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in Crotona Park will be nonprofit program’s third NYC site

April 30, 2014



April 30, 2014

Contact:  Zac Roy, (917) 822-7203, [email protected]


(New York, N.Y.) – In 2015 Breakthrough New York, the tuition-free, six-year college access program, will begin operating its summer and after school programming in the South Bronx at the New York Junior Tennis & Learning’s (NYJTL) new Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in Crotona Park.

Breakthrough New York has shepherded high-potential, low-income New York City students from public middle schools to four-year colleges through services – including tutoring, test prep, and assistance with high school and college admissions – delivered at Manhattan’s Town School since 1999 and Brooklyn’s Bishop Loughlin High School since 2012.

The Cary Leeds Center, located in the 127-acre parkland setting of Crotona Park, will offer a dynamic, new venue for Breakthrough New York’s Bronx students. Earlier classes have had to commute to The Town School for summer and after school programming. 

Constructed in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, the Center is set to open in early 2015 and will house a two-story, 12,000 s.f. clubhouse and an educational facility with classrooms, study centers and a library.

“We are excited to bring Breakthrough New York to the South Bronx,” Rhea Wong, Breakthrough New York’s Executive Director.  “The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning is a first-class facility that will allow us to help more Bronx kids than ever before get on the path to a four-year college and a world of success.  We couldn’t ask for a better partner than NYJTL, with its commitment to providing academic enrichment and healthy lifestyles to kids throughout New York City. I also want to thank the Heckscher Foundation, which has pledged $120,000 towards the Bronx expansion.”

"The synergies between NYJTL and Breakthrough New York make an ideal partnership of academics, athletics, and character development,” said Dr. Deborah Antoine, NYJTL president and CEO. “Breakthrough New York will expand its programming to the Bronx offering mentoring and rigorous college preparation to NYJTL participants—a true win-win for the children of the Bronx.”

“I am truly thrilled at the announcement of this new partnership to benefit families in the Bronx who are seeking ways to help their children move ahead in life," said Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President. "The state-of-the-art NYJTL Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning offers not only an outstanding sports facility of 22 tennis courts, but also classrooms and a community center. This new collaboration is destined to create worlds of success for students."

Founded in 1971, NYJTL is the largest provider of youth tennis and education programs in the nation. The nonprofit organization offers community based programs throughout New York City, and reaches more than 75,000 students in 200 schools with free programs to help them learn tennis and life skills.

The new site enables Breakthrough New York to grow the number of Bronx students it serves from 70 to 105 in 2015, and its overall number of students from 225 to 318.  Those figures will increase by a class each year until 2020, when there will be an estimated 175 Breakthrough students who have come from the Cary Leeds Center.

In June 2015, 34 rising sixth-graders from the Bronx will enroll in Breakthrough New York’s rigorous six-week summer academic program at the Center as part of Breakthrough’s 102-member class of 2021.  The Teaching Fellows who teach the summer sessions are selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants from many of the nation’s top colleges.  Beginning in September the students will receive after school tutoring from Breakthrough and tennis lessons from NYJTL.

This year, over 400 fifth-graders from New York City public schools applied for one of just 68 spots in the program’s class of 2020.  The nonprofit organization serves students who have demonstrated academic performance, potential and motivation, but lack opportunity.  Sixty-eight percent qualify for federal free or reduced lunch, and more than half are the first in their families to go to college.

At a time of heightened concern over New York City public school system’s ability to prepare students for college admission, both Breakthrough New York and NYJTL boast stellar track records.  In 2013, all 27 Breakthrough’s rising 9th grade students matriculated to college-prep high schools, and all 24 of its graduating seniors matriculated to a four-year college.  Meanwhile, 100% of high school seniors who participate in NYJTL programs graduate and enter college.

About New York Junior Tennis & Learning

NYJTL was founded in 1971 by Lewis “Skip” Hartman and Arthur Ashe.  Today, it is the largest nonprofit youth tennis and educational program in the nation, serving 75,000 New York City kids ages 6–18 with free programs that help them learn the sport, succeed in school and build self-esteem around the values of perseverance, cooperation, fairness and respect. NYJTL was recognized by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in 2010 as the outstanding National Junior Tennis & Learning chapter in the nation.  Learn more at

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