Hi. I'm Charles Hinckley. I am currently an eighth grader at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School in Old Lyme, Connecticut. I have been playing tennis since the age of five and now play year around. My younger sister is an equestrian and volunteers at a local therapeutic riding center for people with special needs. This gave me the idea to combine my passion for tennis with the satisfaction and reward that comes with helping others. My parents encouraged me to volunteer at a tennis program for people with special needs as part of my long term community service project. Although our area offers soccer, baseball, and basketball, there was not a tennis program for our special pals. This was the beginning of Tennis Pals.
Seeing a need for an adaptive tennis program in this area, we formed our organization to provide a fun and inclusive solution. Through Chantal Roche of USTA's Adaptive Tennis Program of New England, we were introduced to Jerry Weil of Jerry Weil Adaptive Tennis. Jerry has over thirty years of professional tennis experience and currently runs the tennis program at New Haven's Chapel Haven Center for adults with disabilities. Additionally, Jerry has assisted clients throughout the New England area set up adaptive tennis programs and services. He graciously agreed to work with us to develop a program to bring the joy of tennis to our pals on the Connecticut Shoreline. Without his invaluable knowledge, guidance, and compassion, Tennis Pals would still simply be just a great idea.
It is all about FUN! Our mission is to provide tennis-based instruction in a fun and adaptive environment for area youth with special needs in order to encourage physical, emotional, and social well-being. Anyone that has ever played tennis knows that it offers a lifetime of physical recreation and socialization. We utilize shorter racquets, softer balls, and modified rules to help all participants quickly get in the swing of things. We rely on local student athletes and tennis enthusiasts as volunteers to help run our program. It is truly a win-win for everyone involved. We hope you will join us!
We are a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your generous support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and bring the lifelong joy of tennis to our special pals.
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