Andrea Nichelson likes to play tennis after a day at school.
She is only 10 years old, but she has been playing the sport for five years, and she loves it.
The one thing I like most about tennis is the game.
It just really gets my attention [more] than anything I do.
It just brings up the fire in me.
Andrea lives in Washington, D.C.
She is one of around 900 children who use the free services of the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation.
The Foundation was set up in 1955.
It gives children from eight to 18-years-old a chance to play tennis, and learn school-related and other skills.
By combining sports and education, the group helps young people keep physically active and continue working on their studies.
The Washington Tennis and Education Foundation has two programs.
In one, tennis coaches go to schools around the city, and teach the game to students there.
In the other program, children go to the group’s tennis center to learn the game on indoor courts.
Teachers also help them with homework from school, design robots and play games like chess.
Audra Bell works with the Foundation.
She says the lives of children change when they decide to join the program.
They learn discipline and they learn mental toughness and all of the things that tennis teaches you as a whole, it’s really amazing to see.
The group’s president, Rebecca Crouch-Pelham, agrees.
You’re on the court, you’re playing singles, you’re by yourself, you’re relying on yourself.
She says that is the same strength and ability to react to change that the children need in the classroom.
Children in the program are successful in school.
Crouch-Pelham says all children should have this kind of contact with sports and educational services.
It gives them a sense of belonging to a community, she says.
Children who have completed the program come back to help in the summer as coaches.
Mike Ragland is one such graduate.
He says joining the program at age 13 changed his life.
I was doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, got myself in a lot of trouble.
When I started playing tennis, it gave me a different path to life.
Because of his skill on the court, Ragland went to college and received enough financial assistance to pay for all the college新年伊始-VOA慢速：网球改动华盛顿年轻人的日子 costs.
He then launched a career as a tennis coach.
Coaches, in many cases, are like a parent for young players.
They teach young players more than how to play tennis.
Ragland explains that they teach the children good behavior.
"We take the kids in, we talk to the kids about life, how to carry themselves, how to behave and give them a structure, something that they can go forward with." alt="新年伊始-VOA慢速：网球改动华盛顿年轻人的日子" height="160" width="130">