Paul Paige - Founder & CEO
Paul grew up in Philadelphia, PA where he was introduced to the game of tennis at the age of 4 by his father. He then attended Florida A&M University where he played Division 1 tennis all four years. Paul graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. In fall of 2017, Paul founded Aurora Tennis Association to provide after school and summer tennis programming to youth in the St. Louis City area. He then joined forces in Summer 2020 to establish BreakPoint Youth Tennis Association, a subsidiary of the Triple A Youth Foundation. Paul currently works as a sales manager at Diana Pet Food and has previously coached tennis both privately and in group settings in the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area. Paul is responsible for the overall management and strategic direction for the organization.
Ben Gildehaus - Co-founder, Executive Director of Program Development
Ben grew up in the Saint Louis area and began playing tennis and competing in junior tournaments at age 8. He played varsity tennis at Kirkwood High School on a team that played for the state championship three times. Ben played four years intercollegiate tennis for Knox College and then worked for Tenacity, Inc. in the Boston area, teaching tennis to underserved youth. Ben has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: School and Community and an MBA. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and certified School Guidance Counselor. Ben has 14 years of professional experience working with at-risk youth in community-based and school settings as a provider and supervisor.
Today Ben is a USPTA-certified professional and provides tennis instruction at the Frontenac family of clubs. Ben is responsible for leading and providing strategic oversight of tennis and education programming and operations.
Chelsey has been a dedicated volunteer for many Breakpoint programs in the past two years. She now assists as a junior pro on our staff.
Chelsey is a senior at Mary Institute Country Day School (MICDS) and has starred on the varsity girls tennis team. She plans to study biology at the University of Pennsylvania this fall.
Frank Amanor - Coach
Born in Ghana and moved to Mobile, Al at the age of 7. Started playing tennis around 11 when I visited my dad in Nigeria and continued playing at the Mobile Tennis Center with my two brothers and sister. Played D2 tennis at Spring Hill College and moves to St. Louis cause my wife Rosy is attending Wash U for law school.
Frank assists with Breakpoint's indoor tennis clinics and in-school programs.
Dennis "Tennis" Howard - Coach
Dennis is a local tennis coach who has been playing tennis for over 20 years. Training students of all ages for over 10 years, Dennis played in The US Open National Playoffs and various tournaments throughout the years. The highlight of his career was going to Arthur Ashe Kids Day in New York and training with kids from all over the world!
A lefty with a two-handed forehand who specializes in footwork training.
"I eat, breathe, and sleep tennis! Tennis is a great lifelong sport that builds self-confidence and coordination."
Christopher Smith - Coach
Chris has a significant amount of experience teaching tennis to at-risk youth. He is responsible for running Breakpoint's tennis clinics at Matthews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club and City Academy.
Calvin Stewart - Coach
Calvin joined Breakpoint this year and assists at Sigel Elementary, Gene Slay Girls' & Boys' Club, St. Louis Catholic Academy and our indoor program at Frontenac Racquet Club. Calvin has many years of experience playing World Team Tennis and USTA league. He is a retired Kirkwood firefighter and enjoys giving back and passing the game of tennis on to young people. Calvin participates locally in Gateway Tennis and is a former member of ATA Tennis.
Gary Hickman - Coach
Gary has been playing tennis for over 50 years, he became active throughout High School and college. Started playing tournaments while attending Graduate school played in USTA/WTT leagues and tournaments since 1989. Gary started coaching with Breakpoint in September 2022 at both Gene Slay's Boys & Girls Clubs and Sigel Elementary School in south St Louis. Since starting in 2022, Gary discovered a God given passion for working with youth interested in possibly becoming a Tennis enthusiast. Gary has recently completed the USTA Level 1 Coaching requirements and brings a current approach to making tennis learning fun and exciting for all participants.
Building positive self-esteem, confidence, and a pathway to post-secondary success for less advantaged youth through in-school, after school and summer tennis and educational programs.
- Integrate life skills with the sport of tennis, focusing on social-emotional skills.
- Provide under-served youth with tennis instruction and history of the sport as it pertains to minority involvement to increase participants’ ability to see beyond the social norms.
- Partner with schools and community organizations to provide an enriching curriculum that meets a critical need for physical and academic success. (Skills on the court will translate into everyday life and educational environments.)
- Empower young people to make healthy lifestyle choices through mental and physical fitness.
- Tennis skills - history, rules and structure of the game; skill development (shots and stroke progressions, racket control, footwork)
- Life skills - mindfulness, self-confidence, self-discipline, integrity, sportsmanship, responsibility and accountability, decision-making, collaboration, tenacity and resilience, failure as a part of success, patience, dedication
- Social/Emotional skills (CASEL Core SEL Competencies) - self-awareness (identifying emotions, accurate self-perception, recognizing strengths, self-confidence and self-efficacy); self-management (impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal-setting, organizational skills); social awareness (perspective-taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, respect for others); relationship skills (communication, social engagement, relationship-building, teamwork); responsible decision-making (identifying problems, analyzing situations, solving problems, evaluating, reflecting, ethical responsibility)
MySAEBRS Screening Tool will be administered to assess participants’ social-emotional skill level pre/post 12-week program.
Triple A Breakpoint Tennis & Life Skills Academy is a subsidiary organization of the Triple A Youth Foundation.
For well over a century, the St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association has played an important role in the development of golf and tennis in St. Louis.
In October 1897, fifty leading citizens formed a club to provide low cost athletic facilities. Mr. Alfred Jones was the principal founder.
Little did Mr. Jones know that his dream would still be going strong after five major wars, a great depression, years of legal wrangling concerning park occupancy, and a fire that destroyed the clubhouse.
The first club house was located inside the one-mile track of the Gentleman’s Driving Club in Forest Park near Skinker Boulevard and Forsyth on what is now the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park.
In 1902, Triple A was given 70 acres of land at its current location because the 1904 World’s Fair needed to use the land. This special spot in Forest Park used to be known as Tierny Hill. Tennis courts, a baseball diamond with stands, a track, a golf course, handball courts and volleyball courts were built at this new location. A lacrosse team was created and won the silver medal at the 1904 Olympics!
A Storied History
The golf and tennis facilities at Triple A Club have flourished over the years, producing many great amateur and professional players.
Tennis player Jimmy Connors began his career on the courts at Triple A. As a child golfer Judy Rankin began her career practicing at Triple A.
St. Louisan Dwight Davis had a vision of starting a world tennis competition between countries that continues today.
Triple A had the honor of hosting the Davis Cup matches in 1927, 1946, and 1961.
In addition to this prominent event, numerous clinics, exhibitions, sectional, and district competitions have been held over the years at Triple A Club.