Friday, May 24

Adults with disabilities hit the court in Boynton Beach to learn pickleball from pro

Two local organizations have united their strengths to provide four young men, who have developmental disabilities, an opportunity to learn the game of pickleball from a professional.

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County’s (LASPBC) Guardian Advocacy Project takes local adults with developmental disabilities on several outings a year. This week’s outing landed them in Boynton Beach to play pickleball.

For 15 years, Nahom Endrias, a former tennis player, has been active in sports. But it wasn’t until three years ago that he picked up a pickleball paddle.

Now, Endrias is an advocate for the fast-growing sport, using it as a tool, teaching life lessons and promoting inclusivity.

“My passion is to help other people understand different things and life lessons through pickleball,” Endrias said.

On Tuesday, he shared his love of the sport with a group of adults with disabilities.

He connected immediately with Alphonso Richard, 35, a testament to the power of sports to bring people together.

“I’m happy to play the game, and I love it,” Richard said.

He attended the training after seeing the sport just weeks ago.

“I saw a couple of people playing it at church and wanted to try it,” Richard said.

Richard is a member of the LASPBC’s Guardian Advocacy Project, which helps residents access the essentials shelter, food, health care, safety and education.

For seven years, the Legal Aid Society has teamed up with local homebuilder GL Homes to provide developmentally disabled adults with the opportunity to participate in different activities.

“This is an amazing opportunity for them to really get out and try something new that they may have never been able to try,” Jessica Kelson, a program manager for LASPBC.

“We’ve taken them bowling, golfing, swimming, and today pickleballing at Valencia Grand,” Sarah Alsofrom, vice president of community relations at GL Homes, said.

While the adults had a blast, Endrias said he enjoyed the day as much as the players.

“It’s very fulfilling for me to help other people to help find success in pickleball,” Endrias said. “I have a great way of explaining it, and to see other people’s joy finding success in pickleball is the most self-fulfilling thing I can do.”

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