Texas Connects Us: More Than a Game

Summer has arrived and area camps are in full swing.

In Dallas, coaches Carol Reed and Bert Cole are offering kids an opportunity to play a game to which they would have never been exposed.

"They may not live in the nicer neighborhoods, they may not have an income to play for a program like this," Cole said.

Cole has been guiding young tennis players in Dallas for more than two decades. She's director of the Dallas Tennis and Education Academy, where tennis is just a tool for something much bigger.

"We provide the rackets, the balls, all of the equipment that they would need," added Reed. "To keep them off the streets, keep them in school and build their character."

Jemail Cheatham coaches the older kids.

"We want you to be great tennis players, but we also want you to be more than anything great leaders," he said.

Cheatham is a product of the program. Eventually he earned a scholarship to play in college.

"If you don't want to play tennis in college, that's fine," Cheatham said. "We support whatever you do, but we want you to be the best person that you can be."

"Shows you that you can do anything," said Noah Cathey, who is participating in the program for the first time this summer.

"If I grow and expand on that, I might be able to go some places," he said.

Noah is in the fifth grade – the same age Cheatham was when he first met Coach Cole.

"She told me you have so much potential and you will be a great leader," Cheatham recalled.

"We are really the only people that some of these kids, not all, but some of these kids in the program, where they have someone who's encouraging them and loving on them everyday," Cole said.

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