| By Matthew Cohen
Photo credit: Matthew Cohen

Inwood Country Club opened up its 10 Har-Tru tennis courts to members of the Inwood community for a recent charity event, as 300 children, parents and volunteers flocked to the Country Club for the first ever Kid’s Tennis Festival, hosted by The Inwood Charities Fund Inc. with the USTA Eastern/Long Island Region. Volunteers and guests included the Baldwin High School Girls Varsity Tennis Team, Lynbrook High School Girls Varsity Tennis Team, and tennis professionals from the Inwood Country Club.

“This is hopefully the first of what will become an annual event,” said Lionel Goldberg, tennis chairman and board member of the Inwood Country Club. “It’s a way to give back, help the local community, and support local youth programs.”

Jonathan Klee, a board member of the USTA Eastern/Long Island Region and Inwood Country Club, said, “The support today is overwhelming. I cannot thank the Inwood Charities Fund and the people of the local tennis communities enough for their support.”

The day began with QuickStart drills for the children ages 12 and under, coached by players of the Baldwin and Lynbrook High School Girls Varsity Tennis Team, along with volunteer tennis pros.

“We feel so lucky to be here to help and expose children to tennis,” said Shari Bowes, coach of the Lynbrook High School Girls Varsity Tennis Team. “Bringing my varsity athletes here enables them to show their talents and to serve as role models for these young children.”

In addition to the events specifically for kids, there were adult strength training programs and tennis instruction taking place on Courts 7-10. After a few hours of tennis drills, it was time for lunch. Burgers, hot dogs, salads and snacks were served during the BBQ.

Lunch was followed by the undisputed favorite game of every young tennis player–jail. “What we are focused on is participation, and we want more kids to play, more racquets in kids’ hands, and more kids to having a good time … it’s all about the grassroots,” said Bill Mecca of the USTA Eastern/Long Island Region.

After a round of games, everyone had a chance to win prizes, including U.S. Open shirts, towels and stickers, thermoses, bracelets, wrist bands and key chains.

“The whole event was really fun,” said Yosef Eouth, holding a keychain he won. “This is my second time playing tennis, I like just being on the court in the sun and hitting with my friends.”

The Inwood Charities Fund Inc. was started 15 years ago by members of Inwood Country Club to support local charities and employee scholarships.

“Through the sport of tennis, we hope kids understand there are alternatives out there and find a respect, integrity and love for the game of tennis,” said Andy Shevins, president of the Inwood Charities Fund Inc.

Credit all photos to Matthew Cohen











Matthew Cohen

<p>Matthew Cohen is director of business development for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached by phone at (516) 409-4444, ext. 306 or e-mail&nbsp;<a href="mailto:matt@usptennis.com">matt@usptennis.com</a>.</p>