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City of Orlando, USTA Florida and UCF Tennis Foundation Partner Together

December 22, 2008 01:51 PM

Goal to assist children at the Dr. J. B. Callahan Community Center

In collaboration with the City of Orlando, USTA Florida partnered with UCF Tennis Foundation to introduce tennis to the children of Parramore at the Dr. J. B. Callahan Community Center. The established Callahan Community Center in Parramore is an after-school program that serves over 150 children. In October 2008, 30 children were introduced to tennis using the new QuickStart format of play, which provides a way to bring kids 10 and under into the game by utilizing equipment, court dimensions, and scoring that is tailored to their age and size.

The 8-week program took place every Tuesday for two hours and recently ended its last session on December 16. The QuickStart Tennis format of play was popular with the children because they could immediately pick up a racquet and play with their friends.

The inaugural program was run by three instructors: Kevin Barnes, Facil Kalamadeen and Eli Rivera of Orlando, who volunteered their time. Kim Mowatt, Community Center Manager, and Joseph Caesar organized the registration and schedules of the children.  Mr. Rivera also donated Disney toys and backpacks for all the kids and created professional tennis certificates for them to take home after the final session.

Every child from the program will go on to participate in the 2009 Spring USTA Jr. Team Tennis season at the Orlando Tennis Center.  The children will play in the 8 and under QuickStart Tennis division, which is the first time it will be offered as part of the USTA Jr. Team Tennis league in Orlando.

In addition, UCF Tennis Foundation paid for USTA memberships for all 30 participants. With these USTA memberships, every child will receive a youth Wilson US Open tennis racket, EZ Hit foam tennis balls, a USTA membership card and a one-year subscription to Smash and Play Tennis Florida magazines.

It is the goal of all organizations involved to reach more children at the Dr. J. B. Callahan Community Center and have them play the lifetime sport of tennis. In addition to the 2009 Spring USTA Jr. Team Tennis league, USTA Jr. Team Tennis leagues will be offered to the children in the summer and fall.

Kids from the QuickStart Tennis league in Orlando

(Back l-r): Eli Rivera (Instructor), Alfredo Ortiz (Assistant Director of Facilities and
Recreation for the City of Orlando), Frank Constantino (Head Pro of Orlando Tennis Center),
Kim Mowatt (Director of Callahan Community Center afterschool program),
Kevin Barnes (Instructor) and Facil Kalamadeen (Instructor)






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