USTA Florida Foundation Grant Helps Provide Adaptive Tennis in Miami-Dade County
Everyone deserves a chance to experience the joy of tennis and Miami-Dade County is doing everything in their power to provide Adaptive Tennis to their community, with some help from the USTA Florida Foundation.
People with autism learn at a different pace and have been proven to need additional learning support. To help include people with autism and disabilities in the sport, the Foundation awarded a grant to the county to help operate tennis programs.
Through the Miami-Dade County Parks Therapeutic Recreation & Inclusion Division and Skills Training for Autism Recreations Sports (S.T.A.R.S) initiative, and in collaboration with USTA Florida partner, Love Serving Autism, Miami-Dade was able to expand the numbers of sites it offered adaptive tennis. The program was deemed the Miami-Dade County Adaptive Tennis program.
This program will increase awareness and knowledge of tennis and fair play, develop tennis skills, provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to socialize and communicate with peers, and it will improve motor and coordination skills for all participants.
Over 100 people signed up for this program, which was offered at six different sites over the course of six weeks. At one of the locations, a 13-year-old child with autism, who was known to not participate in sports, attended one of the Miami-Dade County Adaptive Tennis classes, and fell in love with the game. The child kept coming back whenever tennis was being offered and would have a blast learning the sport.
Miami-Dade County Adaptive Tennis staff are excited to keep this program going throughout the rest of 2023 and onward as it was an incredible success. “With each session, the confidence of each participant increased as they continued to learn tennis techniques and gameplay,” one said. “Players on neighboring courts encouraged program participants and connected with program staff to give positive feedback.”
The grant was also able to help the county buy equipment for the program, giving participants the essentials to come out and try tennis and removing any barrier to them being able to participate.
To learn more about applying for USTA Florida equipment grants through the USTA Florida Foundation go to ustafloridafoundation.com/apply-for-grants/program-support-grants.
ABOUT THE USTA FLORIDA FOUNDATION
With a mission of “Changing Lives through Tennis,” the USTA Florida Section Foundation provides financial support to organizations that help people of all ages and abilities improve their health and quality of life through the great game of tennis. To learn more or to apply for a grant go to ustafloridafoundation.com.