Someone to meet, somewhere to go

Someone to meet, somewhere to go

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LYNNE HIGGINS

To steal a line from Harry Porterfield, I'd like to tell you about SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW. His name is Mel Phillips, Jr., and he has returned to the Oak Park Tennis Club this summer where he has been the head tennis pro for three years. At OPTC, Phillips runs an extensive schedule of lesson programs for adults and juniors of all skill levels and also plans special events for season pass holders which include on-court clinics, pro exhibition matches, round robin mixers and club tournaments. Phillips has been certified as a tennis instructor by the PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) and the USPTA (United State Professional Tennis Association). He played college tennis on scholarship at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and at Chicago State University and achieved National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Qualifier status.

Pretty impressive credentials, but the jewel in Mel Phillips' crown is his work with disadvantaged youth of the near west suburbs of Chicago. In 1990, Phillips formed the West Suburban Tennis Patrons, a non-profit organization offering free tennis lessons to kids from ages 8 to 18 as a positive alternative to drugs, gangs and other destructive activities. WSTP's mission statement is "to sponsor and promote youth tennis activities for any child and to use tennis as a tool to improve the quality of life for as many kids as possible, with major emphasis on grassroots level programs for high risk or under privileged youth." To achieve this goal, students who sign up for the six-week program are tested and placed in a group with similar skill levels, and begin a schedule of tennis instruction, drills, conditioning and counseling."

Students are rewarded for good conduct and perfect attendance, in addition to learning a sport they can play for a lifetime. Sponsors provide each child with a T-shirt, and tennis racquets are supplied for students in need. For registration information, contact Mel Phillips at 708-344-8464.

This year, the West Suburban Tennis Patrons is celebrating its 15-year anniversary of building character through the sport of tennis among youths from Oak Park, Bellwood, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park & Westchester. A benefit will be held on Sunday, June 26, from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Oak Park Tennis Club. The scheduled program of events will include doubles play, instructional drills, chair massages, a silent auction, raffle prizes, alumni testimonials and more! Refreshments will include a barbecue dinner. A suggested donation of $25 seems like a small price to pay to show support for this valuable community organization. For reservations or information, contact Mel Phillips at 344-8464 or melptennis

You go ? girls!

The 2004/2005 Women's "A" Traveling Team of the Tennis & Fitness Centre in Oak Park won their final match against the Oak Brook Tennis Club to become Champions of the Weekday Travel Team League. Team members include Captain Connie Geocaris, Darla Patterson, Sue Kiesow, Jennifer Thomas, Julie McKune, Sherry Carbery, Gayle Evans, Ann Pepper and Coach John Morlidge. Congratulations on a spectacular finish to your season.

You go ?

It's not too soon to make your plans to go to the U.S. Open in New York in September. If you've never attended tennis' final Grand Slam event of the year, this is the way to go: Chicago Tennis On Fire is sponsoring its third annual U.S. Open outing from September 1-5, 2005.

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