On Sunday November 15th the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale University was the location for the second round of the Mentor Matches tennis clinic for children and young adults with autism.
While families watched and cheered from the sidelines, 14 participants went through a series of fitness and tennis drills challenging their strength and coordination while encouraging social interaction. Each participant was partnered one-to-one with an older mentor to guide them through each activity.
Mentor Matches is a collaboration between Jerry Weil Tennis, the ASD Fitness Center and Dylan's Wings of Change. The project was envisioned by Kathleen Murdock from Ridgefield, CT who brought together the partnership in February 2015 for the inaugural event at the Hardscrabble Club in North Salem, NY. Following a successful adaptive tennis session at the Connecticut Open in September, Mentor Matches has planned a series of clinics around the state through into 2016.
Jerry Weil has has over thirty years experience in tennis as a player, teacher, coach and program developer. As a parent of a son with an autism spectrum disability, he has dedicated his career to coaching and developing programs for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The ASD Fitness Center, founded by Adam Leapley, is a specialized gym facility in Orange CT that provides a safe, comfortable and structured environment for empowering individuals with autism to improve their level of physical fitness.
We are grateful to the families who came to try out the clinic, all the mentors who made the afternoon a great success, and a very special thanks to Mike Storz, his family and the crew from Chapel Haven.
To find out more about Mentor Matches and the next tennis clinic, contact the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is free, all equipment is provided and no previous tennis experience is necessary.