October 2005 Tennis Volunteer of the Month
Paula Kaunitz of Macungie, Pennsylvania
It’s not often that two generations in the same family can gather for tennis, let alone three. The competing demands of work, school—just life in general—make it that much harder to bring family together. However, October’s Tennis Volunteer of the Month Paula Kaunitz of USTA Middle States makes it a priority.
“I love the sport of tennis, to play as well as teaching and coaching it,” Paula said.
Paula, who has coached high school and collegiate tennis, has instilled her love of tennis in her students, her players, and even her own family. Her son Michael, a former high school and collegiate tennis player himself, volunteers for tennis as well.
“Michael has contributed his time to volunteer ever since he was a young child—around six or seven—helping me with Special Olympics,” said Paula. “I am so happy and proud of him that he still wants to give back and help and make a difference to individuals who need outside support.”
Paula also found a way to introduce tennis into the life of her mother-in-law—Michael’s grandmother. Currently living at Country Meadows Retirement Community in Allentown, Michael’s grandmother Ilse takes part in a weekly tennis clinic run by Paula and Michael for residents with Alzheimer’s.
On a portable “short-court” set up inside the Alzheimer’s unit, Paula runs the class through warm-ups, stretches, balance and strengthening exercises, as well as tennis drills. Michael helps keep all the participants engaged and enthusiastic; some have played tennis before, some have never picked up a racquet. The clinic is so popular that every available spot is taken.
|Paula Kaunitz with residents|
“We want our residents to enjoy life,” said Martie Haller, marketing director at Country Meadows. “We encourage residents and families to help plan new activities. Some of our most popular clubs, such as the Tennis Club, are started by a resident or family member willing to volunteer their time and talents.”
It’s the satisfaction evident in the participants in the clinic that keeps Paula returning week after week, along with the chance to spend time with her family.
“We all have a great time, and that is what is important,” Paula said. “I am truly blessed that I can go to a great facility like Country Meadows, and they allow me to do what I think is important in working with their residents.”
"Paula is an example of the ideal USTA volunteer: tennis is not only her job, but her love," said Ben Zislis, executive director of USTA Middle States. "She brings more than just tennis to the Alzheimer's unit of Country Meadows; she brings compassion, enthusiasm, and a sense of purpose."Thank you to Lisa Williamson of USTA Middle States for providing the information about Paula Kaunitz.
Do you know someone who would make a good Tennis Volunteer of the Month? Email Andrew Feldman
with a short description of how your volunteer helps promote and develop the game of tennis. If you have a picture, send it along.
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