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Kids N’ Tennis, Inc. was founded in 1987 by Don Johnson and Andre St. James. Both men noticed that very few children of color were playing tennis. They agreed to start a summer tennis camp in Northeast Portland to address the community need. Irving Park was selected for the first camp because of its location to Portland’s predominately African American community. The camp was successful and at its conclusion quite a few children wanted to continue their lessons. Johnson and St. James began purchasing court time at the Portland Tennis Center.

After a couple of years and learning more about the United States Tennis Association its mission and programs, Don and Andre with the help of the USTA/PNW and other community leaders decided to form a Community Tennis Association in 1989. Within two years it became apparent that in order for Kids N’ Tennis to continue its work, a non-profit status was needed.In 1992, Kids N’ Tennis received its 501 (c) (3) status.

After successfully achieving the goal of teaching tennis to ethnic populations who were often unable to play tennis because of a lack of money, Kids N’ Tennis broadened its out reach and evolved into a multicultural/ethnically diverse tennis program. Over the past twenty-five years Kids N’ Tennis, Inc. has taught tennis to more than 2,000 children. Graduates from Kids N’ Tennis include Portland area tennis teaching professionals and numerous college graduates.

Kids N’ Tennis, Inc. is open to any children who are interested in learning how to play tennis and could benefit from an excellent coaching staff of Certified Tennis Teaching Professionals. Kids can attend our free summer camps at Irving Park or participate in year-round lessons at the St. Johns Racquet Center. Advanced players are encouraged to enroll in our junior development tennis academy by contacting Coach Johnson at or Coach Michael Navarrow at

Kids N’ Tennis works in partnership with many community, regional and national organizations including Portland After School Tennis and Education (P.A.S.T.E.), the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR), Portland Parks & Recreation, local schools, businesses and other agencies to promote the sport of tennis, health and nutrition, and education.The program has rallied tennis enthusiasts of all ages to assist in promoting tennis, in helping mentor kids to improve their educational endeavors, to provide first-class community service, to encourage health and fitness while providing a safe and positive environment for kids to build confidence and self-esteem.


Coach St. James & The Original KNTers



Kids N’ Tennis short documentary by volunteer Coach Lee Emmert