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Kids have a ball in Flushing

The kids from the Flushing YMCA’s Beacon Center didn’t let a little bad weather stop them from showing off their tennis skills recently.
A free tennis program run by the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) and funded in part by City Councilmember John C. Liu allows kids from ages 6 to 18 to develop and hone their individual skills.
They meet at J.H.S. 189 the Daniel Carter Beard Middle School in Flushing where they get free tennis lessons from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We love that the kids come to our building during the summer to enjoy activities that they might have to pay for somewhere else,” said Principal Cindy-Diaz Burgos, during a session on Thursday, July 24.
As the sun penetrated the clouds and illuminated puddles on the tennis courts, the young players were also beaming with smiles and high-pitched laughter.
“It’s only a few minutes from my house, and I learned mostly everything I know about tennis from here,” said 11-year-old Ario Mavinkere.
Queens College student Lev Borukhov, 19, is an instructor and program alumnus who found the Beacon Center shortly after arriving in the U.S. six years ago.
“I played here as a kid,” Borukhov said. “I now want to give back to the people who gave me so much.”
“We take full advantage of our sports programs and give the kids a great facility and environment to use for playing,” said Michael Garcia, interim director of the Beacon Center.
There are about 1,200 youths in the Beacon Center’s programs, with roughly 90 participating in the tennis program, according to organizers.
It is run on a first come, first serve basis. Parents are advised to contact the NYJTL as soon as possible, Garcia said.
“This building is open 18 hours a day for the kids,” said Burgos. “If they are not doing physical activities and getting out, they will just be in front of a computer or TV screen all day.”
The Center offers many other youth activities, such as martial arts, team sports, dance programs and a book club.
For more information on the tennis program, or anything regarding the Flushing YMCA Beacon Center, contact Michael Garcia at 718-961-6014 or email Michael@ymcanyc.org.

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