February 2004 Tennis Volunteer of the Month
Ernie Contreras of Rio Hondo, Puerto Rico
|Ernie Contreras: "Tennis is the sugar of my life."|
Ernie Contreras has a dream, and his dream is "to see tennis become the number one sport in Puerto Rico.” Born in New York, Ernie took his first tennis lesson in San Lorenzo, a small town in Puerto Rico, when he was 12 years old. He hasn’t stopped playing since.
“Tennis is the sugar of my life,” Ernie is known for saying.
Throughout his tennis teaching career, Ernie developed a firm belief in the 1-2-3 teaching system, and he is certified by the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). The Caribbean section’s legendary Marti Albelo, who founded the schools program in Puerto Rico, recruited Ernie to the profession and the “giving” as a volunteer. He has been teaching tennis now for more than twenty years.
“He is ready for anything—he may not have breakfast when we call him to do a clinic, because he is the first one there, ready to give his time and knowledge to children of scarce means,” said Maria Lirio, Community Tennis Coordinator for the USTA Caribbean section. “His secret is the love of seeing a child smile, seeing him get excited at the experience of being successful, of giving him an opportunity to change the course of his life.”
With a firm belief that tennis transcends boundaries, Ernie recently volunteered to lead tennis clinics for local Boy Scout troops and for the children of the Puerto Rico Hemophilia Association. The Caribbean section proudly claims Ernie as a big help in promoting and developing the growth of tennis.
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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