Roberta Feldman of Hewlett recently received the ITA Collegiate Varsity Volunteer of the Year Award by The Intercollegiate Tennis Association and United States Tennis Association.
Feldman, who has volunteered for the USTA for over 20 years in various capacities, is currently the secretary for the USTA Eastern Junior Tennis Foundation. In addition, she’s served on the board of USTA Eastern, on the USTA Volunteer National Collegiate Committee and on the Junior Competition Committee, among others. “I was surprised and overwhelmed and honored. It’s fabulous to get honored and get awarded for something you love to do,” said Feldman upon learning she’d be given the distinction.
She got her start in working with colleges as an “extension” of her work with junior competition, which she’s “been involved with for many years.”
“Collegiate gave us the opportunity to expose kids that maybe were at different level to stay in the game, or get interested in the game if they hadn’t been interested to begin with,” said Feldman.
She said that her work with the USTA started “accidentally.” After being involved with her school district, she helped kick of a school tennis program. Asked to help with USTA Eastern’s schools program, Feldman said she continued, “because I’ve loved tennis all my life. My son played junior and collegiate tennis, and it kept my interest and I guess my knowledge.” As a result, Feldman has “been able to talk about personal events that might not be in a campus guide or things that a guidance counselor in a high school might not really help you with.”
But along with helping to keep more players involved in tennis, Feldman said, “Im doing it because I love it. I’ve meet wonderful people who’ve become good friends and I just think it’s a wonderful experience and it’s a wonderful experience for kids to be in. It teaches them a lot that you don’t learn in a classroom; it teaches you free thinking. It teaches you delegation of time and at a certain point if you’re into junior team tennis or collegiate tennis: it teaches you to be a team player.
For the future, Feldman said she would “certainly” stay involved in volunteering. “I guess my own personal goal is to keep everybody playing and keep them in the game,” she said. “I’m doing something that I love and the awards or any other achievements that I’ve accomplished have just been through sheer devotion to the game and love for the people I’m working with and I know what it has done for my family and I think it can just teach everybody a lesson in life. “