The Christina Grillo Sullivan Foundation’s Adaptive Tennis Program

A General Overview:

Adaptive Tennis Programs help Host Tennis events for students with physical disabilities and can be easily integrated into an existing local school level  tennis event in regular and post-season competition. Adaptive Tennis Programs are also often flexible to a participant’s needs and are meant to create an enjoyable, and inclusive sport for their athletes. Over the past few years, more State High School Associations have incorporated events for students with physical disabilities into their regular and post-season competition schedules. Adaptive Tennis helps promote self-confidence, physical exercise and also provides the player with a strong social group. As a program, Adaptive tennis helps players find a new and fun-filled activity they can share with both family and friends.

Who Can Participate?

Adaptive Tennis is an integrated sport, where individuals with disabilities play alongside individuals without disabilities. There are only a few modifications to the rules of tennis that apply to wheelchair tennis.

Anyone who possesses some mobility in both arms can participate in Adaptive Tennis. There is no restriction on using a power-assisted wheelchair. Tennis is also often divided between junior and adult players, although there is no official restriction preventing mixing of ages in a tennis program.

Take a Look at Adaptive Tennis Programs Around The Globe

Adaptive Tennis and The Christina Grillo Sullivan Foundation:

The Foundation sought out and has become a partner with the United States Tennis Association, bringing to Galveston Independent School District an adaptive tennis program that will be offered for the first time in the 2017-2018 school year. We are proud to be the first to bring this nationwide program to the Galveston and surrounding areas. This program will promote and develop recreational tennis opportunities for individuals with differing abilities and circumstances through inclusion, knowledge, and support.  

Our Partnerships



USTA’s Adaptive Tennis

USTA’s Adaptive Tennis program provides adaptive players with fun, increased reflexive skills and a chance to meet new connections that will last a lifetime. The program will include volunteers that go through clinics to work with players with intellectual disability. Some of the positive impacts of USTA’s Adaptive Tennis Program Include:

  • If you have a daughter, son, sibling, parent or friend with different abilities, they can play, have fun and enjoy the many benefits of tennis.
  • Helps improve balance, mobility, strength and fitness.
  • Assists with focus, concentration and reaction, all while instilling self-confidence, relieving stress and strengthening social bonds through practice and competition.
  • It is a great way to strengthen both community and family through social activity.

Next Steps for Volunteering For Special Olympics Tennis

Volunteer Oath

I promise to give of the time in my life, so that Special Olympics athletes can have the time of their lives.
I promise to support Special Olympics not just as an expression of charity, but as a form of respect for my fellow human beings.
I promise to spread the word of volunteerism because in giving, I receive so much more in return.

Class A Volunteering

Opportunities to participate as a Class A volunteer include: coaching, fundraising, being a Unified Partner, officiating, and more. Special Olympics Texas depends on these volunteers to assist in providing life-changing experiences to the thousands of athletes participating in the program.

SOTX cares deeply about our athletes, families and volunteers and realizes the need to take precautions to ensure their safety. To provide the best experience possible, potential Class A volunteers are required to complete the following steps:

  1. Submit the Class A Volunteer Application
    (Please Download a PDF version for Minor Volunteers.)
  2. View the General Orientation slideshowand submit your responses to the quiz.
  3. View the Protective Behaviors slideshowand submit your responses to the quiz
    (this is only required for volunteers ages 18 and over, unless the individual is a current high school student).
  4. Complete the Concussion in Sports Training(for Concussion, easily create an account in NFHS and order the free concussion course. The training takes 15-25 minutes to complete)
  5. Submit a request for a criminal background check: see exceptions below.

Verified Volunteers is the official vendor for Special Olympics Texas. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: In order to devote more of our resources to providing a quality program for the athletes, we ask that our volunteers cover the cost involved in their background screening.

Volunteer Background Checks FAQs

Has your driver license ever been suspended or revoked in any state or other jurisdiction?

If your answer is YES, go here to complete your background check.

If your answer is NO, go here to complete your background check. (If you would like a reimbursement for the background check, please e-mail

Kennedy Shriver Legacy

Eunice Shriver surrounded by her five children, Bobby, Maria, Anthony, Timothy, Mark. Seated next to Eunice is her husband Sargent Shriver at their Potomac MD home celebrating her birthday on July 09, 2006

Eunice Kennedy Shriver held a deep belief that people with intellectual disabilities could accomplish more than anyone ever imagined if they were given the same opportunities and experience as others.

In 1962 Eunice enacted her vision by inviting young children with intellectual disabilities to a summer day camp she hosted right in her backyard, which she called “Camp Shriver.” The camp’s goal was exploring children’s skill in different sports and physical activities. Soon, the idea grew. The first international Special Olympics Games were hosted in Chicago, Illinois. Learn more about the events leading up to the founding of Special Olympics.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver remarked at the Opening Ceremony that the inaugural Chicago Special Olympics prove “a very fundamental fact. It prove then and continues to prove today that children with intellectual disabilities can be exceptional athletes and that “through sports they can realize their potential for growth.” She pledged that Special Olympics, would offer people with intellectual disabilities everywhere “the chance to play, the chance to compete and the chance to grow.”

What was once a woman’s vision bloomed into Special Olympics International — a global movement, which now serves more than 4.7 million people with intellectual disabilities in 170 countries.