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Israel Tennis & Education Centers events in Florida a success

During a tour to the southern state, Israeli children highlighted the ITEC’s importance in their communities during these difficult times.

Inbar Poni from Ramat Hasharon, Israel, plays alongside legendary tennis coach Brad Gilbert at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. Credit: Courtesy of the Israel Tennis and Education Centers.
Inbar Poni from Ramat Hasharon, Israel, plays alongside legendary tennis coach Brad Gilbert at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. Credit: Courtesy of the Israel Tennis and Education Centers.

The Israel Tennis & Education Centers (ITEC), which provides support to 20,000 children through tennis, completed its annual tour in Florida during which Israeli children from all backgrounds participated in tournaments, met supporters and highlighted the program’s activities during this especially difficult time for Israeli families.

With 17 centers and seven satellite facilities in cities and towns throughout Israel, ITEC supports children from difficult home situations, who have special needs or are at risk through tennis and other activities. Several facilities are in southern Israel, including in the towns of Ashkelon, Beersheva and Ofakim. Established in 1976, ITEC has been able to take immediate action with its extensive community facilities to help children and their families who are going through unimaginable times. Staff have been providing mental-health support, hot meals, community outreach to those who have been relocated and other activities.

“We have been doing these events annually for many years, but it has never before been as important to show support for so many of these children who have endured traumatic times, lost relatives, family members and leaving,” says Yoni Yair, ITEC senior vice president of development. “Our ITEC family provides the only safe place for many of Israel’s children, who need to be around their peers during these difficult times. We were happy to share the magic of the ITEC experience empowering lives and transforming Israel.”

From left, Israel Tennis and Education Centers coach Amit Kakon with Aaron Krickstein, Inbar Poni, legendary tennis coach Brad Gilbert and other ITEC participants. Credit: Courtesy of the Israel Tennis and Education Centers.

The ITEC ambassadors, each with a heartwarming story about their ITEC experience, competed in exhibitions at tennis facilities in North Miami, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Sarasota.

They are: 

  • Arina Diatlenko, age 11: Arina emigrated from Ukraine when the war broke out and now lives in Ramat Hasharon.
  • Alin Masri, age 11: Her center in Jaffa is a melting pot of nationalities.
  • Inbar Poni, age 18: Just joined the Israel Defense Forces.
  • Rom Malka, age 14: Since Oct. 7, his Beersheva community has faced a barrage of rockets. ITEC is the only place he has felt safe.
  • Amit Kakon, ITEC coach: Evacuated from his home in northern Israel and is happy to be coming to the United States to represent ITEC.
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Israel Tennis & Education Centers (ITEC) empowers children and transforms lives by providing opportunities to support any Israeli child regardless of geography, religion, ethnicity, physical ability, or socioeconomic status. Since opening its first center in Ramat Hasharon in 1976, ITEC has helped over 500,000 children, many of whom live in underserved towns throughout Israel. ITEC currently serves nearly 7,000 children weekly throughout 24 Israeli communities, stretching from the Lebanese border in the North to Beersheva. The ITEC Foundation, a 501(c)(3), is the fundraising organization for ITEC, with offices in New York City, Florida, and Toronto. For more information, visit http://www.israeltenniscenters.org.
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