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USTA, Jr. Team Tennis Putting Foot Forward For Less Fortunate

October 22, 2011 06:22 PM
Soles4Souls and the USTA have teamed up to help those in need.
By Katie Timinsky, special to USTA.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. - When it comes to giving back to the community, there are many Americans who find ways to donate, but few actually make it a priority. The USTA’s Jr. Team Tennis Program is one of the few that have made it a focus and have continued to represent a very special effort at the Jr. Team Tennis National Championships.  
For the past several years, the USTA, with Jr. Team Tennis as a faithful participant, has given back to the local community by implementing an organizational "Green Initiative." 
"It first began in 2009 at our Championships in Mobile (Alabama)," said Adrienne DiMenna, Jr. Team Tennis National Coordinator. "We focused on recycling and bringing awareness to the kids. We recycled tennis balls, printed materials on recycled paper and encouraged kids to bring in water bottles instead of using paper cups."
The focus on the Green Initiative continued in last year’s Jr. Team Tennis National Championships in Surprise, where tournament staff motivated parents and spectators to bring their own coffee mugs and water bottles. Additionally, everyone was provided with tips on how to recycle and stay green at their hotels. 
Now back for a repeat year in the "Valley of the Sun," Jr. Team Tennis has teamed with "Soles4Souls," a Nashville-based charity that facilitates the donation of shoes aiding those in need. Soles4Souls has delivered over 16 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes to people in over 127 countries including Kenya, Nepal and the United States. Additionally, the Soles4Souls team coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita where they successfully collected over 1 million pairs of shoes.
At both the 14 & Under and 18 & Under Championships, collection booths have been set up where players, parents, staff and spectators have the opportunity to donate their old shoes to benefit those in need. 
"It’s a great life lesson for these kids to take part in giving back to their community," DiMenna said. "These events are focused on more than just the on-court experience. We put as much effort into the off-court experience as well. We want the kids to make life-long memories while learning something valuable at the same time."
To support this great cause, pack up all of your old shoes and bring them to Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex through the conclusion of the 18 & Under tournament on Sunday, October 30th. All donations are greatly appreciated.
If you would like to donate or more information, please visit the Soles4Souls website, Soles4Souls.org


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