The USTA today announced that Cindy Harkins of Longwood, Florida was selected as a 2011 USTA Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award recipient. The Eve F. Kraft Community Service Award is given to individuals who perpetuate Kraft’s mission to bring the game of tennis to everyone who wants to play.
Eve F. Kraft was a tennis pioneer who touched people’s lives both on and off of the tennis court. As a teacher, coach, author, USTA staff member and volunteer, Kraft was a lifelong champion of recreational tennis in the United States until her death in 1999. She introduced thousands of young people to the game of tennis, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Cindy Harkins has been instrumental in the growth of the Seminole County tennis community. Prior to 1975, Seminole County did not have one public tennis court. Today, there are 54 public courts. Harkins established Red Bug Park in 1976 and had the privilege of actively serving on the committee to select, plan, and develop Sanlando Park, which opened in 1978. In addition, she is responsible for organizing and developing Seminole County’s tennis facilities and programs. Since 1975, Seminole County has provided tennis opportunities to over 150,000 junior participants, 50,000 adult participants, 75,000 league and USTA Jr. Team Tennis players, 60,000 tournament players, and 800 high school tennis team players.
An active volunteer since 1976, Harkins has been equally proactive, especially in the development of tournament criteria and standards for junior tournaments in Florida. Harkin’s remarkable service to the community is exemplified through her leadership and involvement on several committees. Currently, she serves on the USTA National Junior Competition Committee, the USTA Florida Junior Competitive Council, the USTA Florida Tournament Sanction & Selection Committee, and the USTA Florida Board of Directors. She is a true advocate for the sport and her years of service have ensured the growth of tennis in central Florida.
"Cindy Harkin’s contributions to tennis reflect the passion and selflessness of Eve Kraft," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "Through Cindy’s tireless efforts the lives of thousands of people in her community have been positively impacted through tennis. We honor her achievements and years of dedication with this award."
Harkins will be honored at the United States Tennis Association Community Tennis Development Workshop held January 13-15, 2012 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, La, the largest annual gathering of grassroots tennis leaders in the United States.