Mary Cirilo and Daughter, Ariel Cirilo
Like Mother, Like Daughter
We asked Mary and Ariel Cirilo why they feel volunteering is not only important, but also a big part of their mother/daughter relationship - the response was inspirational and amazing! Thank you both for all that you do for SATA!
Q: How did you start playing tennis?
I began playing tennis as a freshman in High School. I attended Health Careers High School which only had Tennis and Golf at the time. I had never played the sport before. At first I thought it was a silly game but I was wrong! Lucky for me I was able to pick up the sport pretty easily. I loved playing and never looked back to the other sports I thought I missed out on.
Q: Volunteering is important to you, why? So important that you instilled this quality in your daughter – why do you feel it important to pass this to the next generation?
In general volunteering is important and important to teach. Volunteering gives a sense of pride and a sense of belonging. It helps you learn empathy and humility and it helps clear up your perception.Sometimes in life there are moments when you might think that other people have it so great and you don't. By volunteering you are putting yourself in a situation of seeing others who are struggling with something you couldn't have ever dreamed about. Usually after volunteering you go home and realize just how lucky you are.
Q: Social media is a big part of your life – how do you think it helps SATA’s overall mission?
I see social media as a tool for getting information to large amounts of people immediately and cost effective. I believe that when SATA uses social media it is able to be transparent to the public and to its' members. By sharing photos and information about events and opportunities, SATA is allowing players, sponsors and volunteers a way to be informed and involved. I get a lot of information about events through Social Media. I feel that if SATA did not have a presence online, I probably would not be in the "know", therefore my participation would not be as active as I currently am. I think SATA should continue to utilize Social Media in order to gain trust, interest and higher numbers of participation.
Q: We would like to get more of our SATA members to invite their friends to like our facebook page – do you think this is of benefit to SATA. if yes, how?
Yes it would benefit SATA. With more people liking the FB page it is then easier to distribute information. Giving information freely to everyone is an unbiased way to say "Welcome, this is who we are, this is what we do and we would love for you to be a part of this."
Q: What do you recommend to other moms with children (probably younger than yours) who want to get their kids into the habit of volunteering and giving back?
It is important to start teaching your child to volunteer as early as possible. The best way to do this is to teach by example. When children see you doing for others they will want to replicate that behavior and over time they will begin to love it!
Q: Why is tennis such a big part of your life?
There are several reasons why tennis is a big part of my life. However the most important reasons would have to be because the sport has taught me so much. Tennis showed me how to be self reliant and trust my decisions and physical ability, it grew my self confidence,it helped me to be healthy. Playing tennis for me is like going to the gym for most other people except playing tennis is always different, there are so many different players, play styles and drills that you can practice that there isn't room for boredom! Tennis is a lifelong sport and I plan to play tennis until I can"t.
Q: How did you start volunteering?
I started volunteering because my Mom encouraged me to.
Q: What do you like the most about giving back?
I love seeing others so happy to receive things they need or fun they have while doing something.
Q: Do you see yourself being a volunteer when you grow up?
Yes, I will continue to volunteer because even though it is work, it is also so much fun.
Q: Is this something you will pass on to your future family someday?
Yes. I can’t see my future family not volunteering. It is the right thing to do.
Q: What is the one thing you would say to the younger generation about starting to volunteer?
Just try it, you will like it. Open your mind about other things than just what your needs are.
December 2017 - Charlene Reynoso
What do you do for JTT?
I work with other members of the club tennis team at UTSA to provide support at JTT events. We mostly work as court monitors, but we also work with the younger kids on the short courts (introducing them to tennis!) as well as participating in fun events that are put on for the kids! In general, we assist with setting up events, helping to run them, and then taking them down.
What do you like about volunteering?
I think it's important to be active in and give back to your community. Specifically, I love volunteering in our tennis community because it's a great way to stay involved while promoting the sport to young players. I participated in these events when I was younger so it's awesome to have the opportunity to be on the other side of things and continue this kind of work.
Why do you think JTT is important?
JTT is an incredible opportunity for young players to experience tennis in a different setting; I think we get so focused as individual players that it's doubly refreshing to be able to play in a team setting. It's great because it allows kids to play the sport but also learn to lean on and support their teammates. Also, it's a good chance for players to see various ways to play tennis (like World Team Tennis or Tennis on Campus in college!).
October 2017 - Mary Reeder
"I have been playing tennis since I was 14 years old back in the 70's when tennis was thriving. I have played league tennis in both the 18+ and 40+ leagues here in San Antonio for many years, and I am currently rated a 4.5. I have met some great people and made great friends through the game of tennis.
"Once I retired in 2014, I was introduced to SATA through a friend of mine, and she got me involved with many of the tennis programs that were offered. Tennis is really a sport for life and I wanted to get involved with something that I loved to do.
"I was really drawn to the special needs tennis and I have worked with the Racquets UP for Down Syndrome program, and I also helped out with the Special Olympics tennis program by getting the team ready for their Dallas competition. Other SATA programs that I am involved with are helping out on Wednesdays with the home school tennis program and with juniors' after school programs at various middle schools in San Antonio.
"I got involved with SATA because I love the game but, more importantly, I wanted to help grow the game of tennis throughout the SA community to all ages and at all levels--whether that be promoting special needs, the WTA event, officiating or just helping out with teaching young kids. This sport is one of a kind, and a sport that, given the opportunity, everyone should try. Hopefully, they will fall in love with it as I have!"
Thank you Mary for your time and dedication to the sport of tennis.
July 2017 - Kay and Jerry Hendrix
Kay and Jerry Hendrix exemplify the true spirit and heart of volunteerism. They have dedicated over twenty-five years to working with and providing for programs such as “Racquets Up”, a program for children with down syndrome and “Camp Discovery” a program that teaches children with cancer, who do not qualify for other summer camps, how to play tennis. They have spent countless hours acquiring used equipment, racquets, nets, balls, slightly used hats and other wear to help supply and support these programs. In addition to equipment, this couple worked with SATA and other organizations to collect and refurbish old trophies and prizes to make sure that every child receives a trophy or a gift during their last two days of camp participation – even if it meant donating the item themselves. When a coach in the Valley needed tennis wear for his team, Kay and Jerry stepped up to make it happen.
The hours spent volunteering for Racquets Up, Camp Discovery, USTA workshops and trainings only begin to tell the story of this couple’s amazing commitment and dedication to growing tennis and inclusion in our local tennis community. Their hearts are fully vested in giving the gift of tennis to those who might not otherwise experience the joy of playing, and they make the experience one that each child will remember forever. The looks on the faces of the children who receive their award on awards day at camp says it all. Kay is so organized, she already has the next year’s awards collected and ready before the current camp is completed.
SATA is proud to highlight and recognize these two outstanding individuals and to say thank you for all that you do for tennis.
I started playing tennis at the age of 4 because my mother was a Houston league player and wanted to get me into her favorite sport and I haven't stopped since! I love that my husband and children play as well, it's something we can all do together! When we moved into our neighborhood, I noticed that we had courts that weren't being used to their potential. I became the Tennis Liaison of the Oak Meadow Swim Club and we started some fun tennis programming, working with San Antonio Tennis Association and Roger Ojeda. We started NJTL and adult challenge leagues. After speaking to SATA and our USTA Texas Rep, we created a Junior Team Tennis program that has taken off! We have made our OM JTT team work with the help of parents. I am the main coach but then we have parents helping with each age group but yet the team is truly a cohesive unit that practices together and cheers each other on. Once the programs took off, we decided to dive in to resurfacing our two courts because they were in great need of heavy repair. Through a grant from USTA Facilities, the Oak Meadow HOA, the Oak Meadow Woman’s Club and individual donations from the neighborhood residents we reached our goal to resurface the courts. Now we have a JTT team of around 30, group lessons serving kids and adults, challenge leagues and Adult Team Tennis. We love what tennis has brought to the community. It truly brings the families together and allows the children to learn a sport they can play for a lifetime.