Macon Tennis Association introduces Net Therapy program for kids on autism spectrum

The MTA's Net Therapy program aims to serve children on the autism spectrum by introducing them to tennis as a way to stay active and healthy./(Cam Gaskins, WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- The Macon Tennis Association is mostly known for hosting tennis tournaments and youth camps in the middle Georgia area, but MTA Programs Director Jenni Eddlemon wanted to do more to serve the community.

"We wanted to do community outreach," Eddlemon said. "And really hit those under-served communities that wouldn't normally be introduced to the sport of tennis."

That desire to reach an under-served community led to the MTA's launch of the Net Therapy program -- a weekly tennis class that is designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum.

Approximately ten children attended the first session this afternoon at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center in north Macon. Adria Patterson brought her 14-year-old son Devin, and loved having the opportunity to introduce him to a new sport.

"He loves basketball, football, pretty much every sport," Patterson said. "(But) he doesn't have the chance to do sports, of course, that much in the school system."

Brian Roberts leads the class as the main coach, and ran the kids through a series of drills, games, and activities on the tennis court. He leaped at the chance to teach a new group of kids a sport that can keep them healthy and active as they get older.

"Tennis is for everybody, it's good from (age) 2 to 92," Roberts said. "Stay healthy, and it's one of the best sports there is, and I think it's great these kids are getting out here and learning."

The class will meet for the next six mondays -- excluding Columbus Day -- from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center. Anyone interested in enrolling or volunteering with the program can visit the Macon Tennis Association's website.

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