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BNP Paribas, Court 16 and Helen Keller Services for the Blind Expand ‘Sound of Tennis’ Program for Visually Impaired

Partnership brings tennis to visually impaired players in LIC

Provides adaptive equipment such as sound tennis balls for participantsNEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BNP Paribas, one of the leading sponsors of tennis globally, further fulfilled its commitment to make tennis available to all players, regardless of income or physical limitations, by partnering with Court 16 and Helen Keller Services for the Blind to launch the Sound of Tennis program today in Long Island City. The program will offer visually impaired adults in the NYC area the opportunity to play tennis using sound adapted foam tennis balls on a modified court.The effort was kicked off today at a ceremony at Court 16’s Long Island City location, which included visually impaired tennis players. Two-hour classes will be offered weekly at no charge to qualifying participants in order to eliminate any financial barriers for participation. Additionally, the partnership incorporates an employee engagement component, which will allow opportunities for BNP Paribas employees to volunteer at Sound of Tennis both on and off the court.“BNP Paribas prides itself on being a lead sponsor of tennis around the world, but in addition to sponsoring the game, we also make it our priority to see that players get the helping hand they need to be able to compete,” said Jean-Yves Fillion, Chief Executive Officer, BNP Paribas USA and Chairman of CIB Americas. “The goal for our partnership with Court 16 and Helen Keller Services for the Blind is to make sure that this program continues to grow and remains available to those who both want and need it.”Court 16’s innovative Sound of Tennis program was first established at its Brooklyn location in 2015 to directly impact the daily lives of visually impaired athletes through access to, and success in, playing tennis. Designed for individuals with varying degrees of blindness and skill levels, the program applies a specialized curriculum and adaptive equipment – sound balls made of foam and smaller, modified courts with tactile lines – in a safe and inclusive environment.“Fundamental to Court 16’s vision is making tennis accessible to all players,” said Anthony Evrard, Founder and CEO, Court 16. “This started with the original design of the club, curated on one level to make all areas of the academy accessible to people of all ages and abilities – from tennis courts to restrooms that grow with athletes starting as young as 2.5 years. It is a privilege to introduce the game to new players through Sound of Tennis, training athletes with vision impairments how to make proper contact with the ball – our ultimate on-court mission. We have learned so much from one another, created friendships on the tennis court, and sparked a strong sense of purpose behind the Court 16 organization. With BNP Paribas’ and Helen Keller’s support, we look forward to bringing Sound of Tennis to our Long Island City location, offering a complimentary weekly program to 16 new athletes.”“Working with Court 16 has been a hugely rewarding experience for the individuals we serve who participate in the Sound of Tennis program,” noted Kim Zimmer, President and CEO of Helen Keller Services. “The generous support of BNP Paribas and its employees will enable Sound of Tennis to reach visually impaired people from every walk of life. All of us at Helen Keller Services are grateful to Court 16 and BNP Paribas for their deep commitment to removing barriers for blind and visually impaired individuals, both on and off the tennis court.”BNP Paribas has championed similar efforts to help level the playing field in tennis in the past, including its HeForShe promotion at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open by changing the color of the back walls in Stadium 1 to Magenta with a dedicated message in support of the movement. HeForShe seeks to engage men and boys as advocates for gender equality. The annual BNP Paribas Open Scholarship Program also doubled in size this year, expanding to four students in its fourth year.In March 2019, the bank launched “Team BNP Paribas Mac 1” to help the most promising and deserving young American athletes to reach the next level in tennis, together with the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA). The program builds on initiatives announced the previous year with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Yannick Noah, and supports the young tennis hopefuls with the cost of their training. This is in addition to the yearly Youth tennis programming that BNP Paribas supports through City Parks Foundation offering lessons to over 6,000 children in the New York Area.BNP Paribas’ commitment to the sport of tennis – above its partnerships at all levels of the game – is reflected by a wide range of social, educational and charitable activities across the tennis world, including the annual BNP Paribas Open. BNP Paribas has been engaged in major philanthropy initiatives for 30 years through its Foundation, focusing its activities on three main areas: the Arts, Social Inclusion, and the Environment – giving over 40 million Euros per year.For more information regarding this program, please visit: https://www.court16.com/sound-of-tennis-licContacts:Mylene Benmoussa, Media Relations, BNP Paribas, New York
+1 212 841 2351; mylene.benmoussa@us.bnpparibas.com
Guy Taylor, Media Relations, BNP Paribas, New York
+1 917 767 1593; guild.taylor@us.bnpparibas.com
About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 72 countries, with more than 202,000 employees, of which more than 154,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance.
In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the European leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model in Mediterranean countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific. https://group.bnpparibas/.About the BNP Paribas Group in the USA
BNP Paribas has built a strong and diversified presence in the United States to support its client base. The bank employs close to 14,000 people and has had a presence in the USA since the late 1800s. Bank of the West serves over 2 million individuals and small & businesses through a network of around 600 branches and business centers. Large corporate and institutional clients are serviced by BNP Paribas’ Corporate & Institutional Banking franchise that has a presence in the main US cities, in addition to a global reach through a network of offices in EMEA and APAC. The bank also offers asset management services through BNP Paribas Asset Management as well as Real Estate and Fleet Services through partnerships. https://usa.bnpparibas/en/.
About Court 16
Court 16 is the first and only tennis club built for families with children ages 2-12 years, while also offering distinct classes for adults of all skill levels. Following a holistic teaching methodology rooted in education and empowerment, the academy focuses on providing players with the proper foundation to excel technically in the sport while creating a destination experience that lovers of the sport can enjoy.
About Helen Keller Services for the Blind
Helen Keller Services’ mission is to enable individuals who are blind, visually-impaired, deaf-blind and/or have combined hearing-vision loss to live, work and thrive in their community of choice. HKS offers services and programs through two divisions: Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults and Helen Keller Services for the Blind. For more information, please visit www.helenkeller.org.

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