NORMAL, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama A&M University tennis team is giving back to the community.
The Bulldogs are teaching the game that they play and love to students with disabilities through the Dream Court Adaptive Tennis Program.
For kids with disabilities, sports can often be a challenge. Mindy has cerebral palsy, but her parents wanted her to fulfill a dream and play tennis with people just like her.
“We wanted to do community outreach and with those underserved populations that wouldn’t normally be introduced to the sport of tennis,” her mother explained.
Mindy’s parents brought her to Dream Court. The program has served people in the state of Alabama for more than a decade, but for the first time ever, the program has been adopted by Alabama A&M.
“It was founded because I had a friend that had a ski accident and became quadriplegic and that opened my eyes towards people with special needs,” said founder Jessica Weyreuter. “I started researching ‘what can I do’ and ‘what can I not do’. I had already started a sports consulting company and that’s when I created the adaptive tennis program to help people find joy in tennis.”
Those with disabilities often do not have the motor skills and endurance for sports activity. With very few sports activity programs for children with disabilities in North Alabama, adaptive tennis allows children to be accepted by their peers regardless of their physical challenges.
“There is a huge demand for it so now we are specialized for both physical and intellectual disabilities,” said Weyreuter.
AAMU coach Willis Mbandi told News 19 that the Dream Court program not only gives the students a chance to play the game but also allows his players to learn how to create a special partnership.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for my team to do some community service and just to help and to teach this sport to kids that have some disabilities,” said MBondi.
The Dream Court tennis program is happening every Sunday for the month of October at Alabama A&M University. You can find more information about the program here.