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Sports for Special Needs club shows students with autism the joy of tennis

Students+with+the+Sports+for+Special+Needs+Club+play+tennis+with+students+with+the+ACEing+Autism+program.
Alex Shaw
Students with the Sports for Special Needs Club play tennis with students with the ACEing Autism program.

Members of the Sports for Special Needs Club had a blast hanging out with children who have autism.

Club members organized an event to introduce tennis skills to children affiliated with a nonprofit called ACEing Autism 

The tennis court at Kinkaid was filled with excitement Oct. 14, as members of the Sports for Special Needs club coached the students with autism.

“We gave each kid one of our 24 handmade customized tote bags with our club name written on it and the theme of tennis,” said Fife Famurewa, founder and president of the club. “Many of the kids said they could now use it to carry their tennis things or even use it for trick or treating. The parents were very thankful as well. It was amazing to know that our club’s simple actions could impact the kids in their tennis participation but also outside of the tennis court.”

Famurewa, in partnership with ACEing Autism, aimed to help students with autism develop social connections through tennis.

Fifteen club members and volunteers fulfilled roles such as photographer, drill set-up assistant and coach. There were two sessions, one for younger children ages 5 to 10 and a second session for ages 11 to 18.

The children first went through a group warm-up involving high knees and running to the net and back. Next, each volunteer was paired with a student to work on passing a tennis ball back and forth in different ways to improve hand-eye coordination. Afterward, students would practice with rackets. Exercises with volleys, ground strokes, and serves followed.

“Tennis is an amazing sport that is very sociable and gives kids an amazing outlet to make new friends and engage in physical activities as those that they practice with are not always their opponents but their partners as well,” Famurewa said. “While the kids are working hard, there is always time for chatting and encouraging words in between each activity or serve or volley. For anyone, tennis is a great way to control our emotions just like every sport.”

A member of the club, Ethan Williams, was able to form a bond with the ACEing Autism attendee Kenzo. 

“Kenzo has been attending ACEING Autism for quite some time but has stayed reserved and pretty quiet, shying away from activities with his usually assigned partner,” Famurewa said. “This time, during our club’s sign-up, Ethan Williams was able to help Kenzo break out of his shell and form an inseparable bond.”

The Sports for Special Needs club plans to host similar events in the future.

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Sophie Mehta, Staff Writer
Sophie Mehta serves as a Staff Writer for The Falcon. This is her first year on staff. She enjoys playing volleyball and lacrosse. This is also her first year at Kinkaid and she is super excited to write stories for The Falcon.

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