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NEXT WEEK the USTA Florida Section will honor its top volunteers as it did last year at the USTA Florida Annual Meeting & Volunteer Celebration, shining a light on the people whose passion makes recreational tennis happen at the local, regional and state levels.

A volunteer-led organization, USTA Florida could not make the difference it does in kids’ and adults’ lives without its army of volunteers.

You’re reading this because your life has been changed by tennis. If your life hasn’t been significantly changed by tennis, chances are you know someone’s who has.

A kid gets involved in a one-a-week tennis program, the first time he’s played. Soon he’s hooked. His after-school program gets him involved in Junior Team Tennis on weekends, then it’s middle school tennis, high school, then Tennis on Campus at his college or even NCAA tennis if he’s developed into an elite athlete. After that it’s USTA League, and “The sport for a lifetime” has taken hold.

That’s the dream.

“It is my hope and dream that one or more of our children will remain passionate about tennis throughout high school, college, and maybe beyond,” said Kevin Bochenek of Kids in Distress, a USTA Florida Foundation grant recipient providing school and after-school play opportunities for at-risk children. “This award will definitely help us to continue our Tennis Tuesday program.”

You as a USTA Florida supporter made that grant happen.

Even your annual USTA membership alone is an offering of volunteer support that gets racquets in kids’ and adults’ hands who otherwise might not play the game. More than 90 percent of funds that USTA Florida takes in goes directly back into the community to support programs and organizations that promote tennis.

“I want you to know how much this USTA Florida grant means,” said past grant recipient Janet Raney, who started a middle school tennis club in Deland. “These little children have no experience with tennis and they had so much fun. I am working with another preschool starting next week — the equipment is invaluable.”

What do Florida tennis volunteers do?

* At the grassroots level they help local programs, volunteer to help local Community Tennis Associations (CTAs) with activities, help with school tennis programs, at adult short court Masters Tennis events, or captain adult USTA League or USTA Junior Team Tennis teams. * In colleges they help organize Tennis on Campus club tennis teams and volunteer at U30 tennis events (see video below).

Meet Sean MuliganMeet volunteer Sean Mulligan, President of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon – Florida Alpha Chapter at the University of Miami. We asked Sean to share his thoughts on volunteering while at our 30-Love Miami event with Special Olympics Florida .The success of our organization is dependent on volunteers giving their time and sharing their passion for tennis with others. Find out more about volunteering with us at

Posted by USTA Florida on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

* For high schoolers looking to fulfill community service hours, volunteering in tennis is a great resume builder. At elementary, middle and high schools they start Kids’ Tennis Clubs or organize middle school teams and leagues, and start diversity initiatives where tennis isn’t offered. They even collect used tennis racquets.

* At the regional level they serve on boards for CTAs and other tennis organizations, and at the state level they serve on USTA Florida committees and represent USTA Florida on USTA national committees.

Renew your USTA membership this holiday season, and purchase a membership for a young family member as a gift (only $20 and they will get a TENNIS magazine subscription and much more). Want to go the extra mile? Sign-up for a Play Tennis License plate for your vehicle. Show your support for tennis, knowing that the funds for the license also go back into the tennis community in the form of grants for kids’ and adult programs.

volunteer arthur ashe“Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless,” is a favorite quote of current USTA Florida volunteer President Nancy Horowitz. “Together we make things happen — and make a difference. Service is the lifeblood of any organization.”

The USTA was founded in 1881 by a group of enthusiastic volunteers. In 1949 behind a group of equally-enthusiastic volunteers, Florida declared its independence as a separate USTA Section behind groundbreakers Eddie Herr, Gardnar Mulloy, Edward Turville, Clarence Varner and other Florida tennis legends.

Honor these past volunteers that have given of their time to make the state of Florida synonymous with the love of tennis. See what you can do to volunteer.