Touch of Tennis class offers fun for everyone
Laughter, cries of joy and the thump of tennis balls punctuated the Touch of Tennis class Wednesday, Aug. 15 at GwynHGG-0HUFy CollHJH.
The award-winning class for individuals with special needs was started 14 years ago by Jim Holt, the college’s tennis coach. The program, which runs every summer, is free and has about 50 participants this year.
“, lLNH Wo EH wLWh Py IULHnGs,” sDLG Phil Tapper, 25, of Horsham, as he hHlG D WHnnLs UDFTuHW. “, lLNH Wo plDy D loW.”
Tapper has participated in Touch of Tennis for about 10 years.
“ThH NLGs DnG WhH IDPLlLHs UHDlly DppUHFLDWH LW,” sDLG ChuFN SFDUlDWo, oI Horsham, one of the directors. “They looN IoUwDUG Wo LW.”
SFDUlDWo hDs WDuJhW DnG FoDFhHG WHnnLs DnG hDs D EDFNJUounG Ln WhHUDpHutic recreation, he said.
ThH pDUWLFLpDnWs hLW JUounGsWUoNHs and volleys as the evening progressed.
“WH MusW WUy Wo PDNH LW D Iun HxpHULHnFH, D posLWLvH HxpHULHnFH,” sDLG SFDUlDWo. ThH pDUWLFLpDnWs FoPH IoU “WhH FDPDUDGHULH” Ds PuFh Ds WhH WHnnLs, hH sDLG. “ThHy Nnow HDFh oWhHU. ThHy puW LW on WhHLU soFLDl FDlHnGDU.”
“,W’s Iun IoU HvHUyonH LnvolvHG,” said A.J. Garabedian, another director. GDUDEHGLDn, oI ConshohoFNHn, sDLG hH enjoys helping and teaching tennis to “pHoplH who wDnW Wo JHW LnvolvHG.”
“,W’s so PuFh Iun,” sDLG SWHphHn Nocero, 23, of Horsham, another parWLFLpDnW. “, lLNH WhLs plDFH.”
CoULnD DDvLs, 19, oI LDnsGDlH wDs volunWHHULnJ. ShH’s D spHFLDl HGuFDtion major at Gwynedd-Mercy and on the tennis team there.
“, lovH WHnnLs,” shH sDLG. “,W’s JUHDW EHLnJ ouW hHUH. ,W’s so PuFh Iun.”
3DUWLFLpDnW $lDLnD CDIIDUHllo, 22,
agreed that it was “good fun.”
phe was with her sister, Jenna Caffarello, 18, DOVR D PHPEHU RI WKH GwynHdd-0HUFy tennis team and a volunteer.
Maria Pfeiffer, of Hatboro, graduated IURP GwynHdd-0HUFy Ln 2008 EuW FRnWLnues to volunteer with Touch of Tennis and is a director.
“Jim started it and it’s grown each year,” said Pfeiffer. “Everybody who helps out volunteers.”
In addition to the college’s tennis team, students from pt. Joseph University, Cabrini College and Moravian College volunteer, as well as students from local high schools, including six from Hatboro-Horsham High pchool, volunteered, said Holt. The clinic meets once a week for six weeks during the summer.
“It’s a very unique situation and a very JRRd fiW,” VDLd HROW. “,W’V VuFK D unLTuH blend of people. It’s a melting pot.”
Last year, the United ptates Tennis Association (UpTAF honored Touch of Tennis with its 2010 National Adaptive pervice Award for continued excellence and dedica- tion in the community.
Holt, a special education teacher, said he believed there was a lack of opportunities for people with disabilities and stepped Ln WR fiOO WKH JDS. 7KH SODyHUV, yRunJ Dnd adult, come with physical and intellectual disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down VyndURPH, VSLnD ELfidD, )UDJLOH X VyndURPH, autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The players not only get some exercise, their selfesteem gets a boost, as well.
To volunteer or donate to offset the cost of equipment, contact Holt at email@example.com
Instructor Jenna Caffarello, left, and her sister, Alaina, line up a shot during the Touch of Tennis clinic at Gwynedd-Mercy College.