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Funding secured Jax Beach youth tennis program

May 9, 2006 02:11 PM

After receiving an award for his outstanding service to the Jacksonville Beach community, Huguenot Tennis Center Director of Tennis Jim Watford continues to move forward.  May 4 concluded a 10-week program for students who were transported weekly from their schools to Huguenot Tennis Center to learn the fundamentals of tennis.  Jim has secured funding to continue the program for seven more weeks in the fall!

A USTA Tennis in the Parks grant was awarded to Jim and the Huguenot Tennis Center, and USTA Florida Community Consultant Dede Allen is encouraged by the way Jim has utilized the grant thus far.

“Jim knows how to stretch a dollar,” Dede said.  “Local Sierra Grill owner Bob Bruce also provided a generous donation for the program.  There has been wonderful support from the community.”

Throughout the 10-week program, 15 to 20 students were transported to the beach for instruction each week.  Huguenot staff instructors Grant Gibbs and Maurice Johnson served as main instructors while Jim DeLaura, Diana and Howard Gardener, and Lulee Rady volunteered with the program.

Each week, the basics of tennis were taught to the students at the Alden Road Exceptional Student Center.  They received group instruction from the staff and volunteers.  USTA Jr. Team Tennis Area League Coordinator (and volunteer) Diana Gardner provided T-shirts for the kids.

The children chosen to participate in this tennis program are selected based on behavior and teacher recommendations.  Alden Road Exceptional Student Center Behavior Specialist Neil Daraskevich has never seen these kids more excited about an activity.

 “The kids look forward to it every week,” Neil said.  “And then they willingly share their enthusiasm with others when they return to school.”

Dede made a trip to Huguenot Tennis Center to work with the kids.

“Watching these kids was wonderful,” she said.  “Although it is difficult for teenagers at times, they were all so well behaved, focused and enthusiastic!”





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