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Bringing Yoga to Tennis: USTA Florida Dec. 2010 Volunteer Liz Kawecki

November 29, 2010 05:35 PM
Liz-Kawecki-webWhen Liz Kawecki and her sister Susan DeMille stepped in to lead Amelia Island's first QuickStart Tennis program, she saw it as an opportunity to combine her love for recreational tennis with her beloved chosen profession -- teaching yoga.

Kawecki is owner and president/director of Y Yoga Inc., and a certified children's fitness trainer. She can be seen leading large groups of 10-and-under tennis players at the Kraft Tennis Center through warm-up activities and instilling the habits that will benefit young athletes throughout their lifetime.

Her additional titles and certifications are many: certified personal trainer, integrative yoga teacher, post rehabilitation exercise specialist, assistant program director of Quickstart at Kraft Tennis Partners, and captain of the Quickstart team the AllStars.

"We said we wanted to do something for kids, and there was no tennis [for kids in Amelia Island]," Kawecki said of starting the program. "This was an opportunity to get kids involved in tennis, to get kids moving as a yoga teacher. This is just a really unique opportunity to get kids out here, and we also thought it would be fun because it's giving back to the community."

Part of the giving back was creating a QuickStart Kids Summer Camp at a cost of only $25 for nine weeks, attracting 94 children aged 5-10.

"The camp was conducted with the help of only volunteers," said Kawecki, who with her sister applied for and received funding for the QuickStart program through a $1,200 USTA Florida's "Share the Love" grant. "The volunteers are all members of the Kraft Tennis Partners. We've set up two Quickstart Jr. Team Tennis teams with 22 kids."

In addition to working with school children, Kawecki recently wrote and illustrated a children's yoga book, "Yoga ABC's" which is currently being used by local P.E. teachers in the schools. USTA Florida recognizes Kawecki as the December 2010 USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month, a "flexible" yoga instructor who manages to fit volunteer hours into her busy schedule each month to benefit the children of Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach.

"Kids are our future," Kawecki said. "Tennis teaches them life skills and is a relatively inexpensive sport that they can grow with during their lifetime and have still have fun."


Birthplace: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Family Members: My mom Catherine, My dad Gerald, my sisters Susie DeMille and Cappy Dyal, my brother-in laws Joseph DeMille and Maj. Jeffrey Dyal, my nieces Hannah, Bailey and Gracie Dyal, my nephews Joey and Jack DeMille, and my dog Ace, who I adopted from the "Barking Lot" during the Bausch & Lomb Championships on Amelia Island while I was working to stretch the players, umpires, officials and ball kids

Favorite Movie: 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (I liked the underlying message of overcoming life's adversities through the power of love while living fully in the moment)

Favorite Food: Pad Thai w/tofu

Favorite Travel: Hawaii

Favorite Stroke/Shot: overhead

My earliest tennis memory was..."my mom teaching tennis at a local community college and playing with her friends."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."my parents, my sisters and nieces and nephews."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."running 1/2 marathons, doing triathlons and adventure races, surfing and paddlesurfing and helping with various charities and events involving kids and exercise (i.e. organizing/setting up Shrimp Festival Run 5K & 1 Mile, Kids Y Tri for the YMCA "Strong Kids" Campaign, Back to School Family Beach Run 5K & 1 Mile for Communities In Schools, in addition to teaching yoga for "Take Stock In Children," "Oceans of Fun" Summer Reading Camp, "Author in Schools," and Children's Chapter of the Annual Amelia Island Book Festival. In addition, beginning in November each year (4th year) I train individuals, many of them who are breast cancer survivors, and spouses or children who have been touched by cancer, for free on Saturday mornings until February to run, run/walk, walk/run or walk the 1/2 marathon of RUN 26.2 With Donna (national breast cancer marathon)."

Best-ever tennis memory..."playing tennis with my mom who introduced tennis to me."






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