The Special Pops Tennis (SPT) Fall Classic will take place September 27-29 this year, again hosted by Lifetime Athletic & Tennis in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. This fun-filled weekend will include an assortment of different tennis formats for more than 130 athletes.
Special Pops Tennis, a 501(3)c, became a registered non-profit in June 2005. Founder Jim Hamm also is a member of the Special Olympics North America Tennis Development Committee and current chairman of the USTA Southern Section Special Populations/Adaptive Committee. Special Pops Tennis offers adaptive tennis programs specifically designed to share the lifetime sport of tennis with children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The mission of SPT is to enrich the lives of this population, building life skills and self-confidence through interaction with other athletes and the 600+ dedicated volunteers who run the programs.
“[This organization] benefits greatly from the generosity of the tennis enthusiasts in metro Atlanta,” says Hamm. “The ALTA Foundation has helped fund our Fall Classic event each year. Many of our volunteers range from beginner level tennis players to teaching pros; even non-players get involved. For our athletes, it is about being given the opportunity to play tennis, make friends, and live life. It is so inspiring to see the smiles on the faces of the athletes when they are given a chance to hit a tennis ball and be with their new and old friends.”
“My daughter now practices on the court next to neighborhood kids who are two feet taller and twice her level of play, but what’s important is that she knows she belongs in the game and on the court, just like the other kids,” says one parent of an SPT athlete.
Players in the Fall Classic come from eight different states to compete. Approximately 350 volunteers ensure that the weekend event is fun and successful. If you are interested in learning how to get an athlete involved, please go to specialpopstennis.org/registration-new. If you are interested in donating or volunteering your time or resources, visit specialpopstennis.org, or call Jim Hamm at 770.998.7826.