The Israel Tennis & Education Centers Foundation’s student team is coming to South Florida for its winter exhibitions tour. (Israel Tennis & Education Centers/Courtesy)
The Israel Tennis & Education Centers Foundation’s student team is coming to South Florida from Feb. 27-March 16 for its 2020 Playing for Peace winter exhibitions tour.
The ITEC, which was founded in 1976, is a social service agency that provides programs for a variety of children, including at risk-youth, children with special needs and immigrants from Ethiopia, Russia, and the Ukraine, through its 14 tennis centers throughout Israel.
The foundation’s diverse group of student athletes from Israel that are coming to local cities such as Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Wellington, Palm Beach Gardens and Coral Gables range from ages 12-16. The team includes an Arab Christian and Arab Muslim as well as an Ethiopian Jewish coach.
Israel Tennis & Education Centers Foundation student Jasmine (whose last name could not be disclosed for security reasons) returns a ball hit to her. The ITEC student team is coming to South Florida for exhibitions. (Nancy Miller/Courtesy)
Yoni Yair, ITEC’s vice president of development and an alumnus of the foundation, said, “The reason why we call it Playing for Peace is because of the diversity we feature.”
“That is one of the most unique things about our organization. We serve Christians, Muslims, Jews. They all get together at our centers, and we’re going to showcase these remarkable stories of children that come from different religious backgrounds who are playing together for peace.”
In addition to their time on court, the students will share their personal stories about what the ITEC has meant to them, their families and the communities in which they live. Yair said the foundation would like the exhibitions’ attendees to know about the opportunities the organization gives to people of different backgrounds.
“We want to build a lot of awareness of what we do in Israel and get people to visit our centers and see them first hand. We also want people to consider helping us serve more children.”
Israel Tennis & Education Centers Foundation student Tuval (whose last name could not be disclosed for security reasons) prepares to hit a backhand shot. The ITEC student team is coming to South Florida for exhibitions. (Nancy Miller/Courtesy)
The first exhibition and fundraiser takes place on Feb. 27 at Wycliffe Golf & Country Club in Wellington. For the third year, the Wellington event, which is free of charge, will be co-chaired by Harriet and Marty Ross, and Steve and Ellen Wechsler.
“A capacity of 400 people will hear more about the great subject of the 14 tennis centers in Israel that are helping under privileged children of all denominations learn to grow up using tennis balls, racquets and courts, without bombs and bullets,” Marty Ross said. “They are helping children from 3 years old and on to become winners in life.”
Ross said there will be a special program at this year’s event.
“There’s a city in Israel called Arad with a lot of immigrants, including a lot of people who came from Ethiopia. However, the city is in economic disarray and the rate of students who graduate high school has dropped dramatically, so we’re creating a Wycliffe Country Club, ITEC, Arad Project.”
Ross continued, “We’re going to fund 52 children through this project”
“Our goal is to raise $80,000 to sponsor at-risk youths, girls empowerment, special needs and co-existence programs.”
Most of the local events are open to the general public. Visit itecenters.org or contact Yair at 954-480-6333 or email@example.com for more information on these events, including times, locations and which ones are open to the public.
Attendance requires advance registration and valid identification to enter. Call 954-480-6333 ext. 222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Visit the Israel Tennis and Education Centers Foundation’s Youtube channel to view its videos.