The mission of Border Youth Tennis Exchange is to enhance the lives of children and young adults on the U.S./Mexican border through tennis, education, and cross-border exchange.
What is BYTE?
Border Youth Tennis Exchange (BYTE) is a bi-national initiative that provides after-school tennis training and academic programs to youth on both sides of the US/Mexico border. BYTE is part of the USTA Foundation's 2017 Capacity Building Cohort and the only National Junior Tennis & Learning chapter to operate internationally, at four sites in Nogales Arizona and Nogales Sonora (MX). Besides offering innovative, tech based program to under-resourced communities in the US/Mexico border region BYTE also strives to connect its student-athletes across the border through mirror curriculums, shared projects, and cross-border events.
Where do we Work?
BYTE works on both sides of the US/Mexico border, in Nogales Arizona and Nogales Sonora. Specifically, we offer programming at four sites; the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz County (AZ), a Mexican youth community center called Centro Juvenil Don Bosco, a private Mexican girls' orphanage called Casa Hogar para Ninas la Madre Conchita, and a Mexican Municipal children's shelter called Desarollo Integral para la Familia (DIF).
What academic curriculums do we offer?
BYTE offers four academic curriculums to its student-athletes, each tailored to the needs of its specific cohorts. These include: Digital Storytelling, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math), Female Empowerment & Gender Violence, and the USTA Foundation's Academic Creative Engagement (ACE).
- Youth Engagement: BYTE instills discipline, commitment, and positive life habits.
- Urban Outreach: BYTE promotes safe border communities through preventative education and professional, close-to-home recreation for kids.
- Border Health and Wellness: BYTE addresses regional public health concerns such as youth obesity and the prevention of early on-set diabetes.
- Cross-Border Interaction: BYTE facilitates bi-national collaboration so young people can develop relationships of trust, understanding and cooperation across the border.
- Border Awareness: BYTE highlights positive work being done to strengthen border communities and humane approaches to border issues .
The urban area of greater Nogales is historically a single culturally linked ethnolinguistic community that has been split by the US-Mexican border between the states of Arizona (US) and Sonora (Mexico). Nogales, Arizona and its sister city Nogales, Sonora are still commonly referred to as "Ambos Nogales"—meaning "both" or "together." Evolving US immigration policy has progressively increased security and enforcement in the last three decades
Trade agreements such as NAFTA have driven growth in the region, but economic development has largely outpaced evolving infrastructure. Although separated by immense physical barriers, communities in Ambos Nogales share similar social and public health struggles that accompany marginal socioeconomic position. These concerns include median income levels that are close to half that of state and national averages as well as higher than average rates of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, obesity, diabetes, and tuberculosis.
BYTE partners with a Mexican Community Foundation called Fundación Empresariado Sonorense (FESAC). FESAC oversees a network of over fifty Mexican non-profit organizations, providing both strategic and financial support.