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The 2021 RTA Hall of Fame cohort poses with their framed awards on a set of stairs.

The flagship program was recognized for its enduring contributions to Richmond youth tennis since 2004.

Lobs & Lessons is a youth enrichment program that strengthens life skills, promotes academics and creates a path to higher education through the sport of tennis. Through tennis, the participants in the program learn life skills such as etiquette, integrity and teamwork.

“When I think of Lobs & Lessons over the past decade, I think of growth and innovation,” Tina Carter said at the RTA Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Carter is the director of the Mary and Frances Youth Center. “It is our job to educate and empower youth to broaden their expectations in life. We have the opportunity to set youth up for success, providing positive relationships, healthy choices and pathways to design their future.”

Rachel Rhoney, assistant director of the Mary and Frances Youth Center, and Tina Carter with Lobs & Lessons donors and partners.

Out-of-School Time programs such as Lobs & Lessons can enrich the lives of youth and their families through increased social and emotional learning, academic support, increased school participation, safety, support for working families, nutrition, physical activity and work-based learning.

Lobs & Lessons began as a mobile initiative serving 40 youth in 2004, and found a permanent home at the Mary and Frances Youth Center three years later thanks to the generous support of its co-founders, Mike and Elizabeth Fraizer. Lobs & Lessons now serves more than 600 Richmond youth annually.

Participating youth engage right in the heart of VCU campus. Former VCU President Eugene P. Trani said programs like Lobs & Lessons “provide opportunities to children who otherwise would never be exposed to a college campus and all of the aspirations it holds. Whether they end up going to VCU or not, after spending time at the youth center, these young people will know that college can be in their future.”

This photo of families attending a Lobs & Lessons session is displayed on the program’s RTA Hall of Fame award.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Mid-Atlantic has recognized Lobs & Lessons for numerous awards over the years, including the 2013 Virginia Organization of the Year Award and 2015 Innovation Award. USTA also named Lobs & Lessons as the National Junior Tennis and Learning Chapter of the Year for its on and off court impact on local youth development through leadership and excellence in youth tennis and educational programing.

Lobs & Lessons’ induction into the RTA Hall of Fame recognizes the program’s significant contributions to Richmond tennis since its establishment. The RTA inducts a new Hall of Fame cohort every two years. According to RTA, to be considered for induction, a person or institution must have a minimum of 10 years of contribution to Richmond tennis and must have made outstanding contributions to Richmond tennis.

“None of this growth and innovation would have been possible without the unwavering support of our co-founders, community partners, families and the VCU community,” said Carter. “We are always looking for new, creative ways to bring tennis to youth and families in Richmond.”

The RTA Hall of Fame welcomed eight new inductees in 2021, with Lobs & Lessons being the only organization amongst the inductees. 

Learn more about Lobs & Lessons at the Mary and Frances Youth Center’s website.

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