GWYNEDD VALLEY – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) awarded its 2010 National Adaptive Service Award to Gwynedd-Mercy College’s tennis clinic Feb. 13. The free clinic, called Touch of Tennis, is for community members with special needs. Jim Holt, who is Gwynedd-Mercy College’s head tennis coach and a special education teacher at Wordsworth Academy in Fort Washington, established the program in 1998 after recognizing a shortage of opportunities for those with special needs.

The USTA bestows the recognition upon a program or a program leader that has demonstrated continued excellence, dedication and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community. Holt was honored before more than 600 community tennis leaders during the annual USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop (CTDW) in Arlington, Va., that took place Feb. 11-13.

“Jim Holt and the Touch of Tennis team have dedicated their efforts to ensure that everyone with special needs has the opportunity to participate in a meaningful tennis experience,” said Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive of community tennis.

The clinic is supported by a melting pot of more than 40 volunteers, including students from Gwynedd-Mercy College as well as local high schools, colleges and universities. Since its inception, more than 80 participants, ranging in age from 4 to 54, have taken to the courts.

“It is a tremendous honor for me and all of the participants, especially the volunteers who helped make it all possible,” Holt said. “I am also especially proud of my GMC team members, who were generous enough to help others who may not be as fortunate as them.”