How a YPP Membership Helped an Elementary School During Challenging Times
By: Hana Papaco
Kids in school are facing more challenges than ever before since the start of the pandemic. Learning and socializing have become difficult during these unprecedented times. Mika Trevizo has brought a solution to her school to help her students through some difficult times; pickleball!
Mika, a librarian at Glen Oak Elementary School K-6 in Covina, CA is a pickleball fanatic and wanted to share her love of the sport with the students. As the kids were finally welcomed back to school, their daily routine was obviously not the same. Activities they looked forward to the most, such as their schoolwide March Madness basketball tournament, were put on pause due to health and safety concerns.
Mika knew pickleball could be the perfect solution. A pickleball player herself, Mika knows that the sport is easy, social, and covid-friendly. She just did not know where to begin or how to start a program. She introduced Principal Sharon Greaves to the sport and informed her how it can be a great social outlet and a safe activity for the kids to play. After watching a couple videos to see what the sport is about, Principal Greaves gave Mika the green light to implement pickleball in the sixth grade PE programs.
After having no luck finding starter resources to use through different pickleball sites, Mika found the Youth Program Provider (YPP) membership through USA Pickleball. Trevizo stated, “the YPP materials were incredibly helpful, it was great knowing where to start”. Mika reviewed the videos and activity cards and was able to immediately dive in and start teaching the students how to play. She gives a lot of credit to the YPP materials for helping her implement a pickleball program seamlessly.
The kids jumped right in and started getting the hang of the sport very quickly. Students would play against each other or use the handball wall to work on their touch and hand-eye coordination. Mika and other teachers finally saw the light shining back through their students while they played. They were competing, socializing, and having fun!
Trevizo recalls one student who made a dramatic switch when they started playing pickleball. When this student first returned to campus amidst the pandemic, they were unmotivated and did not like being in school. Since being introduced to pickleball, this student has become a leader on the courts. This student is now way more engaged and one of the first ones out to help set up the pickleball nets for everyone. The sport has brought out the best in them and they have not seen that in a while.
Pickleball has turned into an incentive and provides a source of motivation for the sixth-grade students. If they continue to work hard throughout the week and focus in class, they are rewarded with pickleball on Fridays. Mika explained how hard the students work to make sure they get their time on the courts at the end of the school week. Since the craze of pickleball has grown at Glen Oak, the school district was able to paint down court lines on their black top and make it a more traditional playing space.
Trevizo, Principal Greaves and other teachers have witnessed the positive impact that pickleball has had on their students. Their plans, in accordance with health and safety protocols, are to give all grade levels access to the sport. For now, the sixth graders are enjoying their time playing on Fridays and look forward to their quarterly pickleball tournaments.
If you are interested in starting a Youth Program at your school, check out: USAPickleball.org/YPP