Adaptive Athletes Join Net Generation Aces
Love Serving Autism, with several locations in Florida, uses tennis to expand life skills--especially communication--for those with autism spectrum disorders.
This summer, a group of 22 children, 40 family members, two coaches and two volunteers went to the US Open this summer to give an on-court demonstration, and one special athlete from Love Serving Autism was bestowed yet another honor.
When asked by USTA Florida to recommend a youth to represent Florida in the new Net Generation Aces program, Lisa Pugliese, the founder of Love Serving Autism, didn’t hesitate to nominate 15-year-old Jack Garchik of Highland Beach.
While Garchik has become too advanced of a tennis player to participate in the group's regular clinics for autistic children, he was chosen by the USTA because of all he's overcome to become a high-functioning student-athlete.
He continues to positively impact his community by mentoring younger children going through what he experienced being on the autism spectrum. The Net Generation Aces program emphasizes the character pillars of respect, responsibility, listening, effort, teamwork, and sportsmanship--and he nails them all.
“Being selected to represent the United States Tennis Association in the Net Generation Aces program is an honor and a privilege," said Garchik.
"I spent the most amazing weekend at the US Open. I was able to meet tennis greats while also participating in meetings, discussing our goals and visions with fellow Aces. It inspired me and empowered me to do even more in the tennis community. I’m extremely grateful for the experience.”
As a result, he joined the 16 other selected youth for a four-day VIP trip to the US Open including Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, and took part in a working session with USTA senior management and professional players to learn more about the impact tennis has on young players’ lives.
Craig Morris, the USTA’s Chief Executive of Community Tennis, added: “We feel reaching young athletes through their peers is a powerful and effective way to continue growing the sport."
In addition to Garchik, 16-year-old Angelina "Gaila" Fosbinder of Charlotte, N.C. was also selected to represented the program. Read her first-person recap of the weekend here.