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Manhasset Adaptive Tennis Program Serves Up Some Aces

By Leijun Chou, Nathaniel Zheng and Wendy Cai, Sophomores at Manhasset High School

Founded by freshmen from the Manhasset High School tennis team in 2023, the Manhasset Adaptive Tennis Program (newly named the “Manhasset Aces”) has quickly become a cornerstone of the community, receiving full support from Manhasset Secondary School’s Athletic Director Christine Raffo and Varsity Tennis Head Coach Eileen Cuneo. 

This initiative is dedicated to teaching tennis to Manhasset children with special needs, offering not only lessons in the sport but also creating an environment for meaningful engagement and enjoyment. 

Throughout this past Spring, a group of 26 volunteers comprised of JV and Varsity Tennis Team players led five one-hour sessions on the Manhasset Secondary School tennis courts with 10 participant students. This met our ideal participant-to-volunteer ratio, where 2-3 volunteers worked directly with each child. Through fostering conversations and ensuring positive experiences, the clinic aimed to brighten the day of every participant, providing them with a comfortable and supportive setting. 

While the primary focus was on tennis instruction, the program’s benefits extended far beyond the court. Volunteers and the broader community found new ways to connect and grow, with some participants inspired to give back by teaching tennis in the future. At the final session on June 2, each participant was given a medal to commemorate their experience in the program.

This initiative transcends age and cultural differences, promoting a healthy lifestyle and a sense of community spirit among Manhasset students and residents. The high level of involvement in this program highlights the community’s enthusiasm and dedication to the cause.

Special thanks go to Manhasset PASE (www.manhassetpase.org) for their donation of volunteer T-shirts and to 40 Love Lifestyle (www.40lovelifestyle.com) for generously donating children’s racquets. These contributions have been vital in supporting the program’s outreach and impact. The Manhasset Adaptive Tennis Program serves as a shining example of how sports can unite and uplift a community, creating a supportive environment for all involved. 

This initiative will resume in Fall 2024, so please reach out to [email protected] if you would like to become involved in the future. 

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