About Us New 2018-02-21T11:25:08+00:00

ABOUT US

Special Populations Tennis Program, Inc. (Special Pops) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that offers an adaptive tennis program specifically designed to share the lifetime sport of tennis with children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Programs offered free of charge to all skill levels, including those who have never played, include year-round tennis instruction, league play and tournament competition.
An equally important aspect of our program is the opportunity it offers these special athletes to build their self-confidence and life skills through social interaction with each other and the many dedicated volunteers who run our programs.
Based in the metropolitan Atlanta area, Special Pops is a registered Community Tennis Association of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and is recognized by USTA Georgia as the primary CTA in Georgia for teaching tennis and training coaches to teach tennis to players with special needs. We are also an accredited agency of Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA) and the only tennis training arm for many local SOGA-accredited agencies.

Special Pops Tennis Overview Video

History

The seeds for serving this population were germinated in the early 1990s by a group of tennis enthusiasts with a passion for serving others and a love for the game of tennis that is bonded by a respect for both. The union of these passionate volunteers and equally passionate sports enthusiasts from the Special Olympics Georgia organization gave birth to Special Pops as a stand-alone nonprofit in 2005.

Mission

Enriching the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through the lifetime sport of tennis.

Accreditations

  • Registered Community Tennis Association (CTA) of the United States Tennis Association (USTA)

  • Accredited agency for Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA)

  • Executive Director Jim Hamm serves as Chairman of the USTA Southern Section’s Special Populations Sub-Committee

  • Executive Director Jim Hamm serves as a member of the Special Olympics North America Development Committee

  • Member of Georgia Center for Nonprofits

Recognition

  • Recipient of USTA Adaptive Tennis National Community Service Award

  • Recognized by USTA Georgia as the primary CTA in Georgia for teaching tennis and training coaches to teach special needs tennis players

  • Named Community Tennis Association of the Year in 2008 by USTA Georgia

  • Recipient of Special Olympics Georgia Distinguished Service Award as the Outstanding Program of the Year in 2008

  • Member of Georgia Center for Nonprofits

  • Executive Director named as recipient of the 2006 USTA Southern Section Adaptive Tennis Community Service award

FAQ’s

My child with special needs has never played tennis! Can he/she participate?

Yes. While there are some eligibility requirements, the primary qualification for an athlete is age (minimum age 6) and disability (intellectual disability). Skill level and equipment are not requirements to become a Special Pops tennis player or volunteer.

Are there any fees to participate?

No. All training and equipment (racquets, balls and nets) are provided free of charge. Many area tennis players generously donate previously-owned racquets for distribution at no charge to our athletes. Fees may be incurred for participation at the tournament level.

My child with special needs is in a wheelchair and non-communicative. Can he/she participate?

Yes. If the age and disability requirements are met, then the physical disability is not an issue. A “court-friendly” wheelchair is recommended to enable movement during the training session.

I can only volunteer at certain times of the year. How can I let you know when I am available?

The best method is to register on the website as a volunteer. Then review our Tennis Programs, Locations, and Calendar to determine the best place and time of year for you to volunteer. Periodically we e-mail our registered volunteers regarding upcoming volunteer opportunities.

I am not a tennis player and never played the game. Can you still use me as a volunteer?

Yes. We have tasks at all our tennis events that require off-court assistance. We encourage all persons interested in getting involved to come out and join us. At times we have committee activities that occur behind the scenes to make the experience more meaningful. So check us out! There is a place for you!

Is there a minimum age to be a volunteer?

Yes. For the safety of our athletes and volunteers we require that any person under the age of 10 be accompanied by an adult when performing volunteer tasks. This is especially true for on-court activities where the performance and knowledge of the volunteer can impact the athlete’s overall tennis experience. See our Volunteer page for more information.

I would like to start a tennis program at my tennis center. How can I make that happen?

Contact Us and let us know the type of program you are interested in starting at your tennis center. A Special Pops representative will contact you to discuss your interest in expanding the opportunities in your community.

My tennis team would like to get involved at one of your existing sites. What do we need to do?

Please Contact Us indicating the type of involvement you seek. A Special Pops representative will contact you to discuss opportunities for your tennis team to get involved.

If I register on your website, will you make my information available to any other sources?

No. We respect your willingness to provide Special Pops with your contact information. The Board of Directors is committed to treating your information with complete confidentiality.

I have a community group that I would like to inform of your programs. Do you have information that I could give to them?

Yes. Informational materials explaining our programs are available free of charge to your organization. If you would like a Special Pops representative to attend your meeting, just let us know when and where. We always appreciate the opportunity to tell our story!

How do I become a certified Special Olympics Tennis Coach?

To become a certified coach you must first attend a Coach’s Clinic. Go to our Calendar for dates.

Does my child have to compete in tournaments to participate in your training?

No. Participation by an athlete beyond the training is strictly optional. Athletes participate in our training for various reasons. Some participate just to learn the sport while others want to be with their friends. All children and adults with intellectual disabilities are welcome to come and join in the fun!

GET INVOLVED

Join us in our mission to enrich the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through the lifetime sport of tennis.

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