It All Started for Fun
BYTE began in the summer of 2015 as a series of ten free community tennis classes at a girls' shelter and youth community center in Nogales Sonora Mexico. Charlie Cutler, BYTE's Executive Director taught the classes as a side project while investigating refugee asylum narratives for a masters thesis in International Studies and Human Rights.
So We Opened Our First BYTE Centers
BYTE's summer classes were so popular that we expanded the project into a year round youth development program. With the help of local and national partners on both sides of the US/Mexico border we developed a model for inspiring and connecting under-resourced youth through tennis classes and academic enrichment activities.
We Started Changing the Way People See the Border
We focused our work on the values that all people share, like the hope that our children can find inspiration and purpose in their lives. By highlighting what brings people together we found communities on both sides of the border that were eager to support safe and educational youth programming. We also found children and families that wanted to connect and share with new friends across the line.
We Help Kids Prepare for Success
BYTE now operates five sites in Ambos Nogales, offering programming to youth from four organizations in the US/Mexico borderlands. Student-athletes receive two sessions weekly, consisting of an hour of on-court tennis instruction and an hour of academic mentorship. BYTE academics are tailored for each site and delivered by local, bilingual staff. Curriculum topics include digital storytelling, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math), and female empowerment.