TEMPE, Ariz. –
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced on Thursday, November 15, 2018, the three programs that received ITA grants based on their participation in the second annual ITA Community Service Month Presented by Limoneira.
ITA Community Service Month Presented by Limoneira was created to spotlight all the great work in the communities ITA member coaches and student-athletes do on an annual basis. The Limoneira Hours Challenge provided a friendly competition by tracking the total number of hours that each school served.
During ITA Community Service Month Presented by Limoneira, more than 1,000 student-athletes served nearly 6,000 total hours of service in their community or on their campus. Projects ranged from community tennis clinics to Habitat for Humanity to Breast Cancer Awareness projects to elementary school mentoring.
The College of Charleston women’s tennis team won the Limoneira Hours Challenge and $1,000 ITA grant by performing 390 hours of service during October. The team collected canned food items and delivered to the Lowcountry Food Bank, ran a doubles tournament to raise money for St. Jude’s, donated used tennis balls to pet shelters, donated items to a homeless shelter, conducted a clinic for Special Olympics athletes and participated in the Charleston Trick or Treat Festival for inner-city youth, among other activities.
“We didn’t go into the ITA Community Service Month Limoneira Hours Challenge with a mindset of winning, but rather to be exposed to as many different people and organizations as possible,” said College of Charleston Women’s Tennis Head Coach Angelo Anastopoulo. “Each student-athlete on the team was charged with researching a community service opportunity that held a special meaning to them. The month of service affected each one of the players differently, but all learned the same value—it is always better to give back in as many ways as possible. It was an eye-opening process to see all the ways and means to serve the Charleston community. It is proud day for our program and a testament to the character of our student-athletes.”
The University of Alabama Birmingham women’s team generated the most social media engagement and earned a $500 ITA grant. Programs were asked to upload photos and video from their community service projects and share on their social media feeds. The University of Alabama Birmingham worked with Habitat for Humanity and distributed meals to the homeless.
“Our team takes a lot of enjoyment and pride in doing community work,” said UAB Women’s Tennis Head Coach Mark Tjia. “When kids first get (to UAB) they don’t always understand why we put such an emphasis on it, but it is not long until they really enjoy it and see the value in it. It teaches us so much about serving others which ultimately is what leadership really is about. It helps us to be grounded, humble, and grateful which are all qualities that will help us become better citizens and better competitors and teammates.”
All teams that performed 20-plus hours of community service were entered in a drawing, where the team selected received a $500 ITA grant. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst women’s team took home the prize. During the month of October, the team was involved in assisting Habitat for Humanity.
"Thank you to the ITA and Limoneira for placing community service at the forefront as it should be,” said UMass Women’s Tennis Head Coach JC Nunez. “I also want to thank our student-athletes for investing their time and hearts into our efforts to impact our community for the best. It means a lot to me and our program to be able to give back through service. Our program would not be where it is today without the support of our community."
The ITA would like to thank Limoneira for serving as the national presenting sponsor of ITA Community Service Month, as well as thank all the programs across the country that participated.