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New county sports partnership will assist South LA youth

Carol Kimmelman Campus in Carson

Isabell Rivera OW Contributor | 8/8/2019, midnight

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is teaming up with some big names in sports, and has approved the construction of the Carol Kimmelman Athletic and Academic Campus, envisioned as one of the largest sports and education complexes for underserved youth and families in the South Bay, South Los Angeles, and surrounding communities.

The project is being built in honor of the late Carol Kimmelman, who was a member of the 1983 national champion USC women’s tennis team and former elementary school teacher in South LA. She was an avid supporter of tennis and other sports to transform the lives of young people from all backgrounds. When Kimmelman died of cancer in 2017, her husband, Doug, and her four children promised to carry on her mission to make sports and education more equitable.

“Carol was passionate about the potential for children to learn important life lessons both in the classroom and on the tennis court or sports field. This exceptional, cutting-edge complex (occupying a portion of Victoria Golf Course in Carson) will be a safe place for young people throughout the region to experience these lessons firsthand, helping them achieve their full potential and opening doors throughout their lives,” said Doug Kimmelman, president of the Kimmelman Family Foundation.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Foundation, the LA Galaxy Foundation, and the TGR Foundation—founded by golf legend Tiger Woods and his late father, Earl Woods—will offer programs at the Kimmelman Campus at little or no cost to the underserved local youth and families.

“Thanks to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ leadership, we are a giant step closer to bringing a world-class athletic and academic campus to Los Angeles,” Woods said. “TGR Foundation is excited to be part of the Carol Kimmelman Athletic and Academic Campus where we can continue to spread our mission of empowering students to pursue their passions through education.”

The Kimmelman Campus will be constructed on approximately 80 acres of county-owned real estate, and will include 52 tennis courts, fve soccer- and multi-purpose fields, and an approximately 25,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art learning center with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The project will also include two basketball courts, a sprint track, and training turf to promote active and healthy lifestyles for the entire community.

“With the Kimmelman Campus, our youth will have an amazing opportunity to unblock both their academic and athletic potential, and to learn about perseverance, teamwork, fair play, and other valuable life lessons, both on and off the court,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “I am thrilled to work with Doug Kimmelman of the Kimmelman Foundation, Tiger Woods of the TGR Foundation, Chris Evert of the USTA Foundation, and others on this incredible public-private partnership.”

The USTA Foundation foresees establishing the West Coast hub of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) program at the Kimmelman Campus. NJTL offers tennis programs, youth services and college scholarships to more than 200,000 underserved youth around the country each year.

The USTA’s Player Development division, which works to develop world-class players also expects to make the campus its West Coast center of operations.

“This is the most significant undertaking by the USTA Foundation on the West Coast supporting our mission of combining tennis and education together to change lives,” said tennis legend Chris Evert who also serves as chair of the USTA Foundation’s Board of Directors. “By making high-quality tennis and educational opportunities available to all local children, regardless of income, this campus will provide a transformative experience for thousands of young people that inspires them to succeed both on and off the court.”