COLUMBUS (WCMH) – In a matter of weeks, 60 to 80 children will take part in another round of free tennis lessons.
It’s an effort that’s been taking place in East Columbus for about 26 years.
The head coach of the program and his work have been nominated for an effort led by two Ohio State University students who want to recognize minorities whose contributions to the community might go unnoticed.
“Down here at Wolfe Park, most of the things are free,” said Ed Amos. “One of the things we’re trying is to get rid of the stigma that Black people don’t play tennis.”
For 26 years, teaching tennis has been a passion project for Amos, a retired engineer.
“What we do is try to perpetuate the game amongst kids who come into our program,” he said. “Black, white, we don’t care.”
Generations of children from 5 to 18 years old have learned under Amos’ leadership.
“Medical school, medical school, four-year ride tennis, that sort of thing,” he said about some of his students’ accomplishments.
“We just want to highlight some of the communities that some of the unsung heroes that contribute to the community, that do not get as much recognition as they deserve,” said OSU student Tori Burton.
“Sometimes, a lot of communities of color that are smaller and have impacts, culturally and volunteer-wise, do get pushed to the backburner,” added OSU student Kendra Asideu.
Both Burton and Asideu are interns with the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) and are using that experience to help bring recognition to those lesser-served communities.
“These people are systematically underrepresented, especially in leadership, so we want to highlight people that are doing good work in their communities,” Burton said.
Neighborhood Design Center is a non-profit organization that does affordable design planning for central Ohio organizations. The interns have learned how other NDC projects have come to fruition.
“We’re supporting them in giving them an opportunity to create a project and find their passion and find their voice and be able to express that through a project,” said Lisa Snyder with NDC.
The duo created Columbus Is My Neighborhood, which aims to capture black and white portraits of these unsung heroes and place them in high-traffic areas around Columbus.
“To show their culture, to show their impact,” Asideu said.
Recognizing humble and modest leaders, like Ed Amos.
“It’s not a one-man show,” Amos said. “I’m just the head of… I kind of just direct traffic.”
Amos and his team recently honored 28 of the program’s participants for making the honor roll two or more times.
The deadline to nominate someone for Columbus Is My Neighborhood is June 28. To nominate someone or for more information, click here.