Serving Off the Court: Kendall McCaughey

Serving Off the Court: Kendall McCaughey

As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, our focus is often on meeting the needs of our family members, friends, and neighbors. However, animals living in shelters need love and attention as well during this pandemic. And while news reports suggest a surge in pet adoptions and fostering of animals, experts are quick to note that shelters still have and always will have animals in need.  USTA Mid-Atlantic member Kendall McCaughey decided that she could step in and provide that TLC to our non-human friends.  

We caught up with Kendall to find out more about how she is serving off the court in this unique way

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Where do you live? 

Leesburg, Va.

Tell me about your family.

I am married with two kids. Bryn is 17 and is committed to playing lacrosse at the University of Denver in the Fall. Michael is 20 and a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

How did you get started playing tennis

I played tennis as a youth and played competitively in high school.

I got back into tennis as an adult 13 years ago and I’ve played quite a bit on lots of teams.

Do you play on any tennis teams or in tournaments?

I did play on lots of teams. The biggest highlight was placing 3rd at the USTA National Tournament for 8.0 mixed doubles.

Where do you play tennis? 

I play mostly in my neighborhood.

Tell me about how you are serving off the court.

 I walk dogs about once a week at Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) in Aldie, Va.

How did you get started? 

I went online and signed up at FOHA.org. Then I went through training which takes about an hour to an hour and a half.

Why did you decide to volunteer

These animals are confined to small shelter spaces. FOHA needs volunteers to give them the opportunity to improve their quality of life through exercise and positive human interactions like snuggling!

What’s your favorite part of helping? 

I feel fortunate to provide time to these animals who desperately need love and attention.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to get involved with helping during this time? 

This is a great time to get involved! There is a need for people to help walk and interact with animals in the shelter. It is a positive, socially distanced activity that gives tremendously needed attention to these sweet animals who are surrendered or abused through no fault of their own!

As the recovery process begins, tennis has the power to rebuild the community and we continue to be inspired by so many of you – the tennis players, parents, and fans out there, giving back and helping out during the pandemic in many different ways. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section as part of the recovery process we’ll all need.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community.  

Let us know how you or your tennis friends #ServeItForward by emailing hughes@mas.usta.com

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Serving Off the Court: Evelyn Schroedl

At 102 years old, USTA Mid-Atlantic donor Evelyn Schroedl proves that not only is tennis a lifelong sport that can be played at nearly every age, but how supporting tennis can have a lifelong positive impact that can live on for all generations. 

A Baltimore, Md., native, Evelyn was introduced to tennis when her brother-in-law gave her a tennis racquet. Hitting the ball back and forth across the street with him sparked an interest in the sport. It wasn’t until 1997, when she retired from the workforce, that she started taking tennis lessons. Evelyn says “I always wished I started much earlier.”

Over the years Evelyn would go on to play on several teams including a successful mixed doubles team. Currently, Evelyn plays doubles at the Northeast Regional Recreation Center (NRRC) near her home in Parkville, Md. 

What Evelyn loves most about tennis is the social aspect and meeting so many different people. For example, once, while at a museum food court in Washington, D.C., she sat at a table with two ladies who excitedly exclaimed, “We know who you are, we play tennis with you!” While Evelyn didn’t immediately recognize them, she reflects on how tennis connects you with so many people that you often find you know someone everywhere you go, even in large metropolitan areas like Baltimore and D.C. Tennis creates a more connected community.

Knowing first hand the positive benefits of tennis and the vital community the sport provides for players of every age, Evelyn is a champion for increasing access to the sport. However, over the years Baltimore lost many of its beloved tennis courts – the very places where people can learn the sport and connect with one another. Now, there are only a handful of places left to play. The impact of the loss of courts is felt the most in underserved communities across the city because it is one less opportunity for adults and youth to have a safe place to play, de-stress and come together. 

Upset by the dwindling amount of courts in the Baltimore area Evelyn went into action. 

First, she donated a new tennis facility to her alma mater and former employer, Goucher College. In 2019, Goucher broke ground on The Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62 Tennis Center. Twelve new, outdoor tennis courts will replace the eight that had been there and the courts will be the home to the Goucher College Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and will be open to the surrounding community for public use.

Second, Evelyn donated to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. She knew that by giving to the USTA Mid-Atlantic, she was helping communities in the region like Baltimore, enhance lives through tennis, and that her donation supports increased access to the sport for all. 

When asked why she donated, Evelyn simply replies “because I could.”

While the COVID- 19 Pandemic has us sidelined, Evelyn is no stranger to situations like these. She survived the Spanish Flu in 1918 and looks at the current COVID pandemic as a nice break from everyday life. 

“I am not unhappy about the quarantine; I am very happy because I am doing things I have not done in a long time!” Evelyn spends her time reading, sewing, and watching many old movies. However, Evelyn, like the rest of us in the USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis community, is eagerly awaiting getting back on the courts.

Evelyn is the essence of “serving off the court,” selfless acts that will impact a community and sport that she adores.

Click here to find out how you too can support USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization to make an impact on our region through the power of tennis.

Diego Tran Rosado_1

Serving off the Court: Diego Tran Rosado

As social distancing continues, teenagers find themselves dealing with issues such as completing school online, lack of extracurricular activities, and of course missing spending time with their friends. Additionally, with the suspension of activities such as tennis, many find that they may have extra time on their hands. One USTA Mid-Atlantic member and junior tennis player decided to put his spare time to good use. Deigo Tran Rosado and his dad, USTA member Dao Tran regularly volunteer their time delivering meals and groceries for Corona Aid 757, and Southeastern Food Bank.

We caught up with Diego to find out more about him and how he and his dad are serving off the court. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Where do you live now?

Diego: We currently live in Virginia Beach, VA

Tell me about your family?

My dad is American and my mom is Spanish. My sister and I were both born in Spain. 

I grew up in Malaga, Spain. I have Spanish and US citizenship.

We moved to the United States because my sister wanted to finish high school here and then head to college. We moved here last July 2019 and we attend Princess Anne High School.

Diego Rosado

How did you get your start in tennis?

After I quit soccer and didn’t want to do a summer camp, my dad told me I had to find another sport. So he took me out to the tennis court since he loves tennis. I was 7 years old that summer. I’ve stayed with it since. 

Currently, I train at a club and with a private coach and with my dad. I started playing tournaments on weekends when I was 9 years old.

How long have you been playing?

9 years

Where do you usually play?

Cape Henry Racquet Club

Diego Tran Rosado

Do you play on teams or in tournaments?

Yes, JTT at Old Dominion University with Jennifer Toomey’s team. I play individually at different USTA tournaments in Virginia and North Carolina.

Tell me about how you are serving off court?

My dad and I are helping CoronaAid757 and Southeastern Food Bank by making deliveries to seniors, those in financial need and in quarantine.

We deliver meals 2-3 times a week depending on days we are not busy with school work and have been delivering since mid-March.

Why did you decide to volunteer your time?

My dad has volunteered before and told me how rewarding it was many times. He did it when he was at the university with Rotaract and other local organizations back in Los Angeles. So whenever he has time he would look to volunteer. 

Then when we started seeing people (and cars in long lines) on TV standing in line for food kitchens we wondered what about people who cannot leave their homes like seniors and those who are in quarantine or those who didn’t even have a car and take buses that may need food or help. We wanted to help these people who are isolated and cannot even go out.

How did you get started?

We wanted to help in some way locally but weren’t sure what we could do. So we did research and found CoronaAid757 on Facebook and later found the Southeastern Food Bank on Google. Both needed drivers to make deliveries. Since we can volunteer the days and hours we are free, we decided to sign up and help.

What’s your favorite part of making deliveries?

It’s rewarding to see the look on the recipient’s faces when they receive their packages and meals, knowing that we’re helping in some way. We’re all in this together and no one should be forgotten. It helps you stay grounded and humble and grateful.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to volunteer during this time?

Organizations always need volunteers. It doesn’t take much but it means a lot for those in need. If you have time and transportation, just reach out and ask how you can help, no matter your experience, skills or background, it’s easy as that. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic is proud of all of our members who are serving the community during this time of crisis. Let us know how you or your tennis friends are going above and beyond for others and making a difference during the coronavirus pandemic by emailing hughes@mas.usta.com

Click here to find out how you can support USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization to make an impact on our region through the power of tennis.

Serving Off The Court: Teams Sponsor Meals for Health Care Providers

For USTA Mid-Atlantic players, an adult leagues team means competition, friendship, camaraderie, and fun. But more than that, team members support each other off the court as much as they do on it – especially during a time of crisis like we are in now. For the Northern Virginia adult league team “Smack that Ace,” pulling together as a team to help others not only benefited local health care providers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic but a small business owner as well. What’s more, it inspired an abundance of generosity from other tennis league teams to contribute and help too. 

“Smack that Ace” is a 20-person strong, ladies 4.0 team with players hailing from all over the D.C.-metro area. Led by captain Ami Chastain, the team boasts many accomplishments, including placing 2nd at the USTA League Nationals in 2016.

League Outreach during COVID-19

Accomplished at leading her team on the court, Ami is also leading her team off the court by keeping players connected and in touch during this time of suspended play. During one such outreach, the team realized they had two members in incredibly critical roles that could use some help. The team devised a way to support fellow team member and ICU nurse, Brita Johnson, and her George Washington University Hospital colleagues as well as team member Angela Goodman, owner of Famous Toastery in Ashburn, Va. The plan was for the team to raise $320 to purchase meals from Famous Toastery and Famous Toastery would supply meals to the ICU Nurses at GW Hospital. A gesture to show appreciation to the hard-working nurses on the front lines and a way to support a local business. 

The response was so overwhelming that the team met their goal in just one hour. 

And then the generosity spread. 

As can be the case in metro areas, Brita Johnson also plays tennis on a Washington, D.C. league team with captain Yvonne Mayo-Anderson. Mayo-Anderson heard of the effort and went into action reaching out to her Anderson & Anderson team and they contributed as well. Within roughly 24-hours, the two teams raised more than $2,000 – enough to purchase two nights worth of meals from Famous Toastery for the ICU nurses.

Says “Smack that Ace” team member Rachel Fritz, “given the current social environment, health care providers, first responders, grocery workers, etc are the heroes in our country. We have to thank them and support them in every way we can.”

League Players Serving off court

The generosity did not stop there. Enough money was raised that the teams could afford to reach out and help more people. 

“Three of us are also on a team in Montgomery County, Md., with another nurse and an ER doctor. So we decided to contact that captain and share the wealth,” said Fritz.

And that’s when Rachel contacted team captain Laura Sommers. Sommers and fellow teammate Dawn Johnson are health care providers in  Montgomery County. They were able to arrange for Famous Toastery meal deliveries to Laura and Dawn’s respective health care teams and bring them meals to show their support. 

It is incredible to see how generosity can blossom and spread all throughout our communities. Even the smallest gift can go far beyond what we can imagine and be inspiring.

“This was just a really small way for us to contribute. Tennis friends are amazing and very generous,” Rachel concludes. 

Healthcare workers receiving food donations

USTA Mid-Atlantic is proud of our members who are serving the community during this time of crisis. Let us know how you or your tennis friends are going above and beyond for others and making a difference during the coronavirus pandemic by emailing hughes@mas.usta.com

Click here to find out how you can support USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization to make an impact on our region through the power of tennis. 

Mid-Atlantic Impact

Serving Off Court: USTA Mid-Atlantic Donates 80 Tablets to Underserved Communities

USTA Mid-Atlantic aims to create healthier, happier, and more active communities through tennis – even in difficult times. The coronavirus pandemic is posing challenges on many levels, especially for youth in the region. As schools and after school providers have shut down and transitioned to distance learning, one problem is the need for technology resources, especially in underserved communities, where these types of tools may not be present in the home.

Children now need access to sufficient technology to keep up with their education and enrichment activities, such as tennis.  In Washington, D.C., alone, it’s estimated that nearly 30 percent of students “lack adequate access to the internet and proper devices.”(thehill.com)  And according to an article in the Washington Post, “before the coronavirus crisis, only about 1 in 4 students in the high-poverty Baltimore City Public Schools had computers.”

“A number of students do not have access to computers or tablets outside of what is provided in school,” says Jeri Ingram, founder of Metropolitan Tennis Education Group

In an effort to be a part of the solution, USTA Mid-Atlantic was able to repurpose an inventory of tablet devices to distribute to The ACE Project, the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), and the Metropolitan Tennis Education Group (MTEG), three National Junior Tennis & Learning providers in the Mid-Atlantic whose programs are present in communities where the need is prevalent.  

National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) providers help children in need through tennis and education. NJTLs are safe places for children to get support in academics and gain valuable exposure to tennis development. And while children can’t physically be present at their local NJTL right now, these entities are working hard to continue to help their students grow and learn by connecting with them virtually. 

However, it is clear that the lack of technology resources could pose a barrier for children in their programs. 

“The tablets are crucial,” says Matthew Chicola, director of philanthropy for The ACE Project in Baltimore, Md. “They will enable students who do not have access to technology devices to continue to participate in the program.” 

The ACE Project Baltimore chapter was started five years ago in the aftermath of the Freddie Gray verdict as one method to bring healing to the community. With the closing of schools due to the pandemic, the Baltimore chapter shifted programming to a digital platform. Currently, they serve between 150 to 200 children.

The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) is dedicated to building life champions through the sport of tennis. WTEF offers tennis and educational programming to underserved communities in Washington, D.C. The tablet donation will benefit WTEF’s Arthur Ashe Children’s Program which serves 179 students in 14 elementary schools. Ronnie Goodall, director of the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program, says the tablets will be like a “lifeline to each other, teachers, and classmates” for students and will help bring the program virtually to kids who are without digital access. “The kids get a kick out of seeing friends. It’s a healing connection.”

For Metropolitan Tennis Education Group, the tablets will allow them to “initiate digital learning in a number of capacities” according to Jeri Ingram. MTEG students, ages six through seventeen, will be able to participate in virtual programmings such as home training sessions, weekly zoom education series, and college preparation courses. Ms. Ingram further says that this donation also allows the staff “to enhance their offerings” by providing opportunities like one on one virtual tennis lessons.

“Now, more than ever, our youth need to feel connected to the tennis community that they have come to know so well and truly depend on,” says Lindsey Keeler, senior director of USTA programs and services at USTA Mid-Atlantic.  “We’re happy to partner with these organizations to help ensure that children in these programs can maintain their participation. We really are so moved by all of the ways our tennis community is stepping up to help others and this is just one way we are doing our part too.” “Hopefully this will encourage others to see how they can find ways they can help as well.  Everyone needs to be a part of the solution so that no one is left behind,” says Beth Twomey, chief operating officer at USTA Mid-Atlantic. Click here to find out how to help us continue supporting programs to underserved communities that will be most affected by this crisis.