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In the shadow of a wall, kids from both sides of the border bond over tennis

Tennis program unites kids at the border
Tennis program unites kids at the border 02:05

At a pop-up tennis court on the U.S.-Mexico border, 13-year-old Marilu Portillo is practicing her forehand in the shadow of a wall.
 
"When I look behind me I see, well of course, I see the border wall and all the wire they just put and that makes me feel kind of sad," Marilu said.
 
She is part of an after-school program that teaches tennis in Nogales, Arizona, and on the other side of the border in Nogales, Mexico, reports CBS News' Jim Axelrod. 

Charlie Cutler is a tennis pro who started the Border Youth Tennis Exchange or BYTE. He brings 150 kids from both sides of the border together to play tennis throughout the year. 
 
"We know what walls represent. They represent divisiveness. They represent keeping people out and separated," Cutler said. "Border communities are not scary places. Border residents are the same as anyone else. A kid learning to play tennis in Mexico looks exactly the same as a kid learning to play tennis and in Arizona."
 
Carolina Iniguez is from Mexico and Esteban Alvarez is from Arizona. They are building a new friendship one volley at a time.
 
"I probably would never have met this person if I had never done this event so doing this event, it kind of gives me a new perspective on life here," Esteban said.
 
"We can be just friends and we aren't enemies just because we are from different places," Carolina said.
 
If the idea of the wall is to separate, these kids manage to render it useless.
 
"We're all the same and we could be friend and have fun," Marilu said.
 
Score it "love-love" on this court. That means they're all winning.

BYTE is part of the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, which includes more than 350 community tennis organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis and education programming to more than 225,000 under-resourced youth nationwide.    

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