A Hauppauge student with a love of tennis is using the sport to serve up assistance for children with developmental disabilities.
Jill Lawrence, a sophomore at Hauppauge High School, raised $1,200 last year though a first-time tennis tournament, called “Tennis Serves the Community,” to benefit the Developmental Disabilities Institute in Smithtown. A second tennis fundraiser will be held in May.
The round-robin tournament will consist of teachers, varsity tennis players and alumni matching up against each other. Funds are raised via donations and tournament entry fees.
“I wanted to find a way to combine my love of tennis with doing something for the community,” said Lawrence, 15, who is captain of her school’s varsity team. “It was a small idea in the beginning, but then it really took off.”
The tennis-loving teen said she chose to benefit the Developmental Disabilities Institute since one of her tennis teammates has an autistic brother and a father who is a member of the nonprofit’s board of directors. She has already raised roughly $350 for this year’s fundraiser through a bake sale that she held during a recent wrestling match at the school.
Lawrence, who joined her high school’s tennis team as a seventh-grader, was named to this year’s All-Division team and has been her team’s MVP for the past three seasons. She has also participated in several dozen tournaments through the U.S. Tennis Association.