EDUCATION

CHARACTER

TENNIS

HEALTH

danburygrassrootsbrochure

Danbury Grassroots Academy

DGA is a free, year round program serving 50 at- risk students, ages 8-18, since 2006. Our mission is to improve the lives of promising, selected students in Danbury emphasizing education, character, tennis, and health. We provide our students with a disciplined and nurturing environment for mentoring, promoting healthy lifestyles, and building self-esteem.  The program operates at our 2,500 square foot Main Street office and on Danbury’s public tennis courts at Rogers Park. During the winter our highest achieving participants also qualify to play indoor tennis two to three days a week. We have two full time employees, Lauren Dalton (Executive Director) and Lynn Radford (Director of Education), and one part time summer tennis professional. In addition, we have the support of over 40 active, year-round volunteer tutors and tennis pros comprised of National Honor Society students from local high schools, former teachers, WCSU students, and local residents. We have four primary goals: To stress the critical importance of education; provide the tools necessary to develop character; teach the basics of tennis; and emphasize the value of nutrition and exercise. Specific and long term objectives are to improve report card grades, DRA reading levels, high school graduation rates and establish career paths or college education.

A successful DGA participant will evolve over time to develop skills that demonstrate a strong work ethic. Students will learn to become personally responsible in all areas of their lives, but with a strong focus on their academics. Students will learn to value education, take pride in their academic work and demonstrate a persistence to achieve excellence.  In addition, students will develop healthy interpersonal relationships that demonstrate good character traits such as integrity, respect, citizenship and caring for others. A DGA participant will embed wellness into their lives and recognize that good nutrition, exercise and fitness will help to make them happy and healthy.

Accomplishments

  • To date, all of our students have achieved a 100% high school graduation rate
  • All of our participants have gone on to attend college or begin a career
  • Homework completion level and study habits drastically improve during a student’s first semester in the program
  • After one year in the program, all of our students show significant improvement with work habits, social skills, self-esteem, leadership skills, academic performance, and school attendance
  • The majority of our students boost reading levels by one level over the summer and by one or more levels during the school year
  • Our students realize significant advances in math performance and an overall increase in standardized math test scores
  • The Danbury Public Schools named 15 of our students recipients of the Student of the Month Award or People Respecting Others Award
  • Through the DGA, five participants received scholarships to attend Immaculate High School
  • DGA promotes general health, fitness, and wellness by keeping of students active, fostering the importance of healthy behaviors, and providing healthy snacks. This leads to a reduction in body mass index and improved self-esteem
  • Since 2006, over 20 participants have played Varsity High School tennis at Danbury High School, Abbott Tech, Immaculate High School, and Wooster School
  • Since 2006, DGA has had over 20 participants play Varsity High School tennis (Danbury High School, Abbott Tech, Immaculate High School, and Wooster High)

RECOGNITION AND AWARDS

  • In 2014, Director, Lauren Dalton, was awarded the Danbury Area Mentor of the Year Award from W.C.S.U. for her outstanding work in mentoring area youth through both tennis and tutoring
  • The 2014 top 3 finalist for the USTA Serves National Program of the Year Award
  • The 2012 USTA NJTL Program of the Year for New England
  • The 2011 Linda Newby Professional Service Award for contribution and commitment to the children an families of the Danbury community
  • In 2007, Carl Bailey, Founder and President, received the USTA Connecticut Program of the Year Award

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUPPORT DGA?

Danbury Grassroots Academy is a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity

I love this program because they help us in many ways and they teach us tennis too! They teach us nutrition and tell us how much sleep we need, and they help us with homework too.
STUDENT
Program Participant
The benefit of this program is that we take kids that might not be ordinarily exposed to tennis and we put them out on a tennis court, and they are not only learning about tennis, they're learning life lessons. They're learning how to play by the rules, how to treat each other with dignity and respect, how to be part of a larger team and a larger organization.
MAYOR MARK BOUGHTON
City of Danbury
I love everything about this program. This program is amazing. The kids that we have, the services that we offer them, the way that they respond to the services, the way that they respond to our volunteers, and the way they respond to each other is just amazing.
LYNN RADFORD
Director of Education - DGA