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$1000 for 1000th Organizational Member

July 17, 2007 03:47 PM

*pictures by Stephanie Shipley

On a regular Thursday back in April 2007, the Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls (B&G) Club in Delray Beach officially became an organizational member of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Florida section.  Set to receive the customary benefits associated with an organizational membership from USTA and USTA Florida, the non-profit Boys and Girls Club signed their papers, sent in their check and welcomed the benefits of tennis. 

Yet, on that same “ordinary” Thursday in April, the Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls Club unknowingly reached a landmark in USTA Florida history as well; they became the 1000th organization member of USTA Florida!  To recognize the Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls Club and ALL organizations that promote tennis, USTA Florida board members decided to give back to the community and award $1000 worth of Wilson equipment to the 1000th new member.

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When the Boys & Girls Club was notified of their 1000th member mark, “I couldn’t believe it,” said Marvin Holloway, unit director of the Naoma Donnelly B&G Club.  “To receive equipment and supplies is amazing.  The Boys and Girls Club is non-profit and funds are usually limited.  The contribution by USTA Florida has definitely helped.”

Holloway’s first memories of the Boys and Girls Club revert back when he was a member with his brother at 8 or 9 years old.  “To run a Boys and Girls Club site now, I never imagined that.  It is nice to be associated with an organization that really helps kids.  Both the Boys and Girls Club and USTA are really affecting a lot of children who otherwise may not be exposed to tennis and this program.”

Cheryl Rivera, USTA Florida North Region 8 community coordinator, was instrumental in organizing a June 28 ceremony for the children of the Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls Club.  The presentation, which took place in the club’s gymnasium, brought together Victor Rivera, vice president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, plus board members, directors and children from the Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls Club in Delray Beach.  USTA Florida past president, Don Cleveland, presented Rivera with a plaque to hang in the building.

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“USTA Florida is extremely fortunate to have so many tennis and non-tennis associations and organizations as a part of our tennis family,” said Andy McFarland, associate executive director of USTA Florida   “It is with these membership dollars that we are able to help reach our mission of promoting and developing tennis all throughout Florida.  We love taking our membership dollars and putting them immediately back into the tennis community as we did with the Boys & Girls Club in Delray Beach.”

In total, the club received 35 junior racquets, 12 dozen balls, including low compression and transition foam balls, 2 portable short court mini nets and 1 roller bag to store some of the equipment. 

After the ceremony concluded, anxious and enthusiastic children finally grabbed a racquet, ball and utilized what the equipment is best suited for: playing tennis!

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Holloway said the Boys and Girls Club, which has approximately 408 members, joined the USTA because it gives children exposure to recreational tennis.  By introducing tennis to kids, both USTA Florida and the Boys and Girls Club hope to defeat childhood obesity by keeping kids positive through exercising regularly while having fun.  

“There is a lot of happiness,” said Holloway, when asked how the kids have responded to the new gear.  “The kids are thrilled to have new equipment which hasn’t been used yet.”

Tennis programs for the B&G Club will take place on the courts at Catherine Strong Park which are located close to the club.  Although individual membership is not required of each child, many have already become USTA junior members.  In fact, on Saturday April 21, just two days after the B& G Club joined USTA Florida on April 19, 30 youth from their program attended USTA Kids’ Day during the first round Fed Cup Tie against Belgium at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. 

“We thank all of our 1,000 organizations that continue to support tennis in Florida,” said McFarland, “and we look forward to our future 50,000th individual member!”

For more information about tennis at Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls Club, call (561) 279-0251.

 

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