A goal of Long Island Tennis Magazine, and specifically the New York Tennis Expo, is to provide an event that grows the game of tennis and encourages more people to become involved with the sport.
Thanks to the Expo’s partnership with Pop.Earth, that mission was accomplished.
To begin the Expo, Pop.Earth members took part in a free clinic on Stadium Court led by legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, the Farmingdale State College tennis teams as well as players from Roslyn and West Islip High School.
“Imagine a free event to teach over 50 autistic children the wonders of tennis, with more than 50 volunteers, both young and old, working together at a major ATP Tour event? Imagine that this event had Nick Bollettieri offering words of encouragement to each child alongside touring professionals and other prominent coaches,” said Steve Kaplan, founder of the non-profit Serve & Return which helped facilitate the clinic. “I didn’t imagine this! It happened with the support of Pop.Earth, Long Island Tennis Magazine, IMG Academy, the New York Open and the amazing supporters who ensured that each and every child walked away with a huge smile on their face.”
Pop.Earth is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing holistic health services and options for those with special needs, including Autism and other developmental disorders. The organization is based on Long Island but has partners all across the United States.
The clinic served as the official launch of Pop.Earth’s new tennis program, “Making a Racquet”, which it plans on running first on Long Island and then growing it throughout multiple locations. There were stations set up on the main court used by the professionals for the New York Open, where instructors worked with the kids on basic technique through a variety of different of drills.
“The reaction from the parents and kids were 100 percent positive! Some kids came not even wanting to try tennis but ended up doing just that and loving the experience!” said Deb Stone, Pop.Earth’s Founder and Executive Director. “Pop.Earth will be bringing this program to Long Island first at low cost to free, and then slowly rolling it out across the tri-state area. We hope to have programs pop up across the country and get more kids involved with this great sport.”
The clinic was the perfect way to begin this year’s New York Tennis Expo and was made possible thanks to the organizations involved, the volunteers and, of course, the kids who came out to play tennis.
“Working with Chris Savino, Deb Stone and the whole Pop.Earth team to put on this clinic was truly special,” said New York Tennis Expo Director David Sickmen. “We were proud to introduce the sport of tennis to so many young kids, and kick off Pop.Earth’s new tennis program in the process.”
You can learn more about Pop.Earth, and its new tennis programming, by visiting www.PopEarth.org.