The USTA announced that Los Angeles-based ACEing Autism has been awarded the 2014 USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award. The organization will be honored during the annual USTA Tennis Development Workshop (TDW) held Nov. 6-9 at the Sheraton Atlanta, in Atlanta, Ga. The USTA annually bestows this recognition upon a program or program leader that has demonstrated continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community.
ACEing Autism's program director is Richard Spurling, an active member of the USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee, who was awarded the 2013 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Professional Tennis Registry Launched in 2008 by Spurling and his wife, Dr. Shafali Jeste in Boston as a family run organization, ACEing Autism moved to California shortly thereafter and in May of 2010 partnered with UCLA's adaptive reaction program in Los Angeles.
"On behalf of the ACEing Autism Board we are extremely grateful for this honor," Spurling said. "I share this award with my staff, our 30 program directors and the hundreds of high school and college student volunteers who bring tennis into the lives of families that are affected by autism spectrum disorder."
ACEing Autism uses tennis as a means of engaging children on the autism spectrum. It allows autistic kids to have fun and learn the sport as well as increase hand-eye coordination and motor development, while improving social skills, attention, health and fitness, and self-confidence. ACEing Autism has 30 tennis programs in 10 states serving the needs of about 500 children with autism on a weekly basis.
The USTA Adaptive Tennis National Community Service Award was established in 2003. To qualify for a program award, the program must have been in existence for a minimum of three consecutive years and be either a registered USTA Adaptive Tennis program or have a USTA Adaptive Tennis affiliation. To qualify for an individual award, the recipient must have worked with an Adaptive Tennis program for a minimum of three consecutive years.
"What Richard Spurling and ACEing Autism have done for children with autism is simply amazing," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "ACEing Autism is dedicated to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful tennis experience. We are proud to acknowledge their efforts with this award."
In the fall of 2013, ACEing Autism launched new programs in Tampa; Charlotte; Encinitas, Calif.; and Riverside Park, N.Y., with plans to expand to nine new areas by the end of this year. For more information on ACEing Autism, go to: www.aceingautism.com<http://www.aceingautism.com>.
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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level, from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Emirates Airline US Open Series, linking nine summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA's national charitable foundation, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and individuals with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page, facebook.com/usta, or follow @usta on Twitter.