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Teen Teaches Tennis to Special Needs Kids
Mitzvah Hero: Julia Friedenberg, a seventh-grader at Wissahickon Middle School in Blue Bell, partnered with her next-door neighbor to form a tennis clinic for special needs kids. Their Tennis Buddies Squad meets weekends at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell.
What It’s All About: “I wanted to combine my love of tennis with a project which is hands-on,” says the 12-year-old daughter of Michael and Cheryl Friedenberg, and sis to Alyssa, 15. A member of her school tennis team and six-year veteran of the courts at Frog Hollow Racquet Club in Lansdale, she found inspiration, with her Mom’s assistance, by helping out this past summer with a Touch of Tennis, a special needs clinic held at Gwynedd Mercy College.
“When it ended its summer-only schedule, we couldn’t find another program for the fall,” Friedenberg says. So she teamed up with neighbor Stephen Cammarota, who was looking for a volunteer effort for his high school senior project.
“Stephen and I did most of the work, preparing flyers, getting tennis balls, ball hoppers and racquets donated, answering emails, getting permission for the courts, and our parents helped us spread the word to various groups.”
Not a One-Time Thing: The clinic just ended, but Friedenberg says she plans to make it a yearly program. “My family has volunteered in the past for various organizations, and I know it is important to help others,” says the recent Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen.