My junior and senior high school PE instructor exposed us to tennis because it was part of the curriculumn design for physical education. So, I am not a tennis player, never have been and never had a strong desire to learn. But, recently the opportunity to learn about the teaching tennis to youth and adults with intellectual disabilities was offered. No experience needed, just your desire to help someone. After sitting in on a meeting with a few of the founding members and committed volunteers I was moved to the brink of completing that volunteer application form and signing up for the coaches training camp next month.
Since Georgia is a huge supporter of the game of tennis, this Special Populations Tennis Program is supported with a great deal of enthusiasm from local volunteers including schools, parks, and communities. This program is a non-profit 501 (c)3 grassroots volunteer organization with a mission to teach tennis to youth and adults with intellectual disabilities on a year-round basis. This a program that is operated by a 98% volunteer pool and has a retention rate of 90% of both volunteers and athlete participants. Youngest being about 5 years of age and oldest around 67 years of age.
The benefits of the program provide the participants with life skill values such as ethics, respect and sportmanship behavior. You can imagine as a SW my excitement about serving others was fueled by what this group was offering to some of our disenfranchised. Other benefits of the program were the increase in physical fitness, development of more self-discipline, improvement in cognitive and developmental skills and increase in self-expression and social interaction (Special Populations Tennis Program, Inc. , 2005).
To continue the work of the organization volunteers and sites are needed. You can help by contacting sharing this information with those persons you may know that would like to volunteer and become a site for this work to be offered. Reach out and touch someone, you only have to have the willingness.