The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation players are on a U.S. tour that began May 30 and is ending in metro Atlanta. They represent the 20,000 youths each year who play at the 14 Israel Tennis Centers, which focus on at-risk children, immigrants and those with special needs and which bring together children of various religions.
“This will be the ITC’s third time in Atlanta,” said Jacqueline Glodstein, the foundation’s executive vice president of global development. “No one on this particular team has been here before. It’s wonderful for these Israeli youth ambassadors to experience the unique culture of this modern Southern city.”
In addition to playing tennis, the team members will tell personal stories about what the ITC has meant to them, their families and their communities.
“We are thrilled to provide our children with this tremendous growth opportunity to travel to the U.S., play in these great tennis communities and serve as ambassadors for Israel abroad,” foundation President Joyce Pernin said. “It is phenomenal to witness these children learning so much by having this unique experience to meet some of the wonderful people who support them. Children from the U.S. benefit as well by connecting with and getting to know Israelis their own age from different cultures and developing friendships.”
The tennis centers teach life skills and values through sports and provide tutoring and health meals. “We teach our children inclusiveness, unity, respect, diversity and caring,” Glodstein said. “We believe that this will set them on the path to a brighter and more successful future.”
ITC operates in underprivileged areas of cities from Kiryat Shemona in the north to Be’er Sheva in the south.
“When we opened our first center in 1976, no one could have dreamed how much our work has transformed the lives of so many Israeli children, preparing them for life,” ITC founder Bill Lippy said.
Sunday’s exhibition runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at 1600 Dunwoody Club Drive in Dunwoody. The event is free, but advance registration is required for security reasons at www.israeltenniscenters.org/events/dunwoody.