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Jewish Community Center in Miami Receives QuickStart Tennis Grant

November 16, 2010 01:03 PM
The 12-court tennis center at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in Miami
The tennis program at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center (JCC) in North Miami has become a hotbed for junior tennis this summer, with 135 children registered in the 10-and-under program. In November the program received an extra boost from USTA Florida and its "Share the Love" initiative, granted $2,500 in QuickStart Tennis equipment and scholarship money for students requiring financial assistance.

QuickStart Tennis is designed for children age 10-and-under, older beginning players and senior tennis players, featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of QuickStart Tennis in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

"The Michael-Ann Russell JCC is a non-profit organization," says JCC Tennis Manager Donna Tollefsen. "We were very excited to receive our grant for the QuickStart Tennis program. We had a QuickStart Fun Day and 55 kids showed up, even though it was raining. We cannot imagine how great the next tournament will be with all our additional equipment from the Share the Love grant."
The Michael-Ann Russell JCC has an impressive tennis staff of seven, including Tollefsen, a USPTA-certified teaching pro, the 2006 USPTA Miami Pro of the Year and the former women's head coach at Nova College; Bill Ogene, the USPTA-certified head tennis pro manager, the 2008 USPTA Miami Pro of the Year and a former ATP top 400-ranked player; Carlos Maehama Kenichiro, a PTR-certified Master Professional and former Japanese national coach; Lee Dresbach, PTR certified national tester and former director of the Vertical Club in New York City; John Cossu, a PTR-certified former ATP satellite player from Mexico and Mexican Davis Cup sparring partner; Serge Petit-Pointe, a PTR-certified former top-ranked junior; and Nathalie Mantilla, a PTR-certified former top Venezuelan junior.

USTA Florida's 'Share the Love' campaign is a $500,000 initiative on top of the organization's regular annual giving to promote a wide range of other community initiatives.

USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida. USTA Florida's 'Share the Love' grant program helps fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities include QuickStart Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to QuickStart courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

"Together we can reach our mission, 'To promote and develop the game of tennis in Florida,'" said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director, Play Tennis Division, Andy McFarland. "It's with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these."

Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more information on QuickStart Tennis in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com.





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