How It All Began…
It was a love of tennis and a deeply rooted concern about kids that united the efforts of Marlie Buehler and Michael Kaplen, co-founders of Abundant Waters After-School Program.
In the late ‘80s, when Kaplen was taking tennis lessons from Buehler, a former touring pro, they talked about wanting to help kids from low-income households have the opportunity to become skilled players so they began providing lessons and court time at a New York City tennis club.
But along the way, they discovered that some of their high school players, though good at tennis, were hopelessly behind in their school studies. They immediately hired a trained counselor to help the teens. And the two came to learn that although it’s never too late to help a kid make it through school, sooner is always better than later when it comes to education.
Buehler had also noticed during her years teaching private school kids that their after-school time was booked not just with tennis lessons, but music, dance, art, and organized team sports. Why not provide the same enriched environment for her kids?
And thus was born Abundant Waters After-School Program in September 1993 at PS 111, a Title I school (children come from households with a below poverty level income) in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
The Abundant Waters program started out small with 12 sixth-grade girls in a dance class. But soon sports, drama, chess, art, music were added. Children flocked to the program, soaking it all up. In fact, that’s what the name Abundant Waters means—that every child deserves “watering” or nurturing and the chance to bloom.
The program is now in its 26th year and presently at PS 51, also a Title I public school, since 2004. The program serves over 100 children, providing daily homework tutoring, chess instruction and sports participation. Weekly classes include dance, art, music, cooking, knitting, wall climbing and computer skills. There are also ice skating at Bryant Park in the winter and trips to quality films.
Abundant Waters wants to thank and acknowledge Councilman Corey Johnson's office for the CASA grant that provides TADA!'s expertise in our yearly Spring play production, and for the yearly discretionary funding grant that provides a Learning Specialist to aid Abundant Waters children.