Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
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Long Island Social Diary: Giving For The Love Of The Game

I love the U.S. Open. One of my favorite events is Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. One of the organizations proceeds from ticket sales goes to support is the National Junior Tennis and Learning Network (NJTL), a nationwide group of more than 600 nonprofit youth-development organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis, education and life-skills programming to more than 325,000 children each year. It’s the kind of altruistic event that I could see local charity Tennis Racquets For Kids, Inc. (TRFK) fitting in with quite nicely. This non-profit organization is devoted to introducing underprivileged children to the sport of tennis by giving donated old racquets (in playable condition) to them. While Great Neck cardiologist Dr. Gary Mintz is the point man for TRFK, it was his now 20-year-old fraternal twins Zachary and Paige who came up with the concept five years ago.

“They were United States Tennis Association (USTA) players and they would never want to throw out their rackets when they were growing up. They always wanted to give them to people that could use them,” Dr. Mintz explained. “When they got to middle school, they came up with this idea that they could give them to underprivileged kids. So they designed a website that you should look at for some of the story. Then they started putting boxes in various places to collect rackets to give to underprivileged kids.”

Over time, TRFK has provided racquets to families and organizations in New York City, Ohio, Texas, Mexico and even Africa, where a gentleman visiting family in Pennsylvania found out about this charity and started a tennis program back in his home country. Roughly 200 racquets are being redistributed annually and with no corporate support, it’s a truly grassroots organization. Not only are racquets restrung and regripped by Zachary, (restringing takes about a half hour per racquet), but postage is often part of the overhead.

Over time, TRFK has forged a relationship with Roosevelt’s Alliance Junior Tennis Development Program (AJTDP) which is overseen by longtime tennis advocate Emily Moore and is run in conjunction with the Nassau County Parks Department. And while many testimonials can be found on the TRFK website, there is one that stands out for Dr. Mintz having to do with Moore’s group.

“So after we gave out the rackets, Zack and Paige ran the clinic and then at the end the kids started to come up to give back the rackets. Then Zack and Paige told them the rackets were theirs to keep so all the campers started crying and hugging my kids. [Zack and Paige] then really knew what the point of giving was.”

And while Dr. Mintz has reached out to companies including Babalot and Wilson along with a number of unnamed professional players, his pleas for used equipment has so far fallen on deaf ears. Given the fact that according to a 2010 Forbes Magazine article, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) generates $200 million in revenue and around $100 million in profits annually from the US Open, it’s hard to believe that there isn’t room at the inn that is Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day for Tennis Racquets For Kids’, Inc. to participate for the like minded cause of exposing the wonderful sport that is tennis to those least able to afford participating.

For more information about Tennis Racquets For Kids, Inc., please visit www.tennisracquetsforkids.org

Want To Help?

The following are sites where you can drop off rackets and tennis accessories

Anton Community Newspapers

132 E. Second St., Mineola, NY 11501, 516-747-8282

Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation

21 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury, NY 11568

Guy L. Mintz M.D.

287 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, NY 11021, 516-482-3401

Glen Head Racquet Club

95 Glen Head Road, Glen Head, NY 11545, 516-676-9849