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LIFTALL hits Long Beach

LIFTALL hits Long Beach

by Chuck Russell

The Long Island Foundation for Tennis And Learning, Ltd (“LIFTALL”) announces it has successfully embarked on its mission to provide free or affordable tennis and related skill development/training programs. This past summer a brand new sport was introduced at the Long Beach Martin Luther King Youth Center… Tennis! LIFTALL’s mission is to promote interest and appreciation for the sport of tennis, especially in the underserved communities on Long Island.

LIFTALL, incorporated in April, 2014 as a 501(c)(3) CTA and NJTL, was fortunate to receive a PISE grant from the USTA in May to aid in getting their programs off the ground. Recently LIFTALL received a USTA regional grant, which will help with Fall programming. These funds allowed LIFTALL to provide the Martin Luther King (MLK) Center in Long Beach with free tennis programming. Consisting of 10 sessions, the program included classes for younger day camp kids, an older kids evening recreation program, and even a ladies night. Each session included instruction and play, received overall rave reviews and was shown much appreciation from all the participants.

The Martin Luther King Center, which was ravaged by super storm Sandy, provides free programs attended by local residents. The tennis program provided by LIFTALL was geared to children ages 5 – 15. Chuck Russell, the Executive Director of LIFTALL, who is part of the USTA National Workshop Faculty, is a clinician for training instructors in USTA Recreation Coach Workshops (RCW), and 10 and Under Youth Tennis program. Chuck supervised and taught in all the programs held at MLK. Tennis was introduced at MLK to children who had never played or had the opportunity to play tennis previously. Beginning with lesson 1, all were participating in games. “By using the USTA 10U curriculum and modified racquets, balls, nets, scoring, etc., we were able to get everyone playing games and having fun quickly. We are all, kids and staff, really looking forward to the next session!”

In addition to the children’s sessions, a ”Ladies Tennis and Spa night” was held at MLK in which tennis instruction, drills and games were provided and the services of a massage therapist (Karen Larsson) were included in the program. A great night was had by all. LIFTALL has developed a great relationship with the MLK Center and looks forward to partnering together for further program development there.

LIFTALL has committed this fall in providing an adaptive tennis program to ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Children with Handicaps through Organized Recreation) located in LIDO Beach, Long Island. ANCHOR is a Town of Hempstead facility which provides year round recreation programs dedicated to children and adults with special needs. The development of an adaptive tennis program is very near and dear to one of LIFTALL’s on court volunteers, Annemarie Mahoney, who previously has worked as an instructor with Pal-O-Mine, an adaptive horseback riding program. Annemarie is looking forward to working with ANCHOR on providing an adaptive tennis program.

LIFTALL is working this fall with Long Beach Recreation in providing a low cost tennis program to the children in Long Beach. This is the first tennis program at the Rec Center, and may be the start of regular tennis programming there. According to Chuck, the response has been very good, and new players are being added weekly as word has gotten out to the registrant’s friends about the great, new tennis program.

Future endeavors for LIFTALL include fall/winter programs with the Long Beach Youth and Family Services Center, and to work with MLK and Youth and Family Services on providing tennis programs for its seniors. Work is currently underway with MLK in holding a Senior Tennis night.

Future plans for LIFTALL include continuing and expanding programming in Long Beach, and then extending its programs into the surrounding areas on Long Island. To do this, LIFTALL is currently interviewing for site directors and tennis pros. In addition, volunteers are needed (adults, and students needing Community Service hours). For more information please contact Chuck Russell at prochuck@optonline.net