William Tarini has loved tennis since he was five years old. This summer, the Lincoln-Sudbury High School junior, along with several of his teammates, is sharing his passion for the sport with kids from Dorchester as part of the Holy Family Summer Camp. The campers are participating in a series of weekly tennis clinics held each Friday of the five-week camp at Boston College High School.
Catholic parishes in Dorchester have partnered with Our Lady of Fatima in Sudbury for the last three decades. The link to the suburban parish has helped in many ways, including the coordination of the summer camp. The current incarnation, the Holy Family Summer Camp, has been going on for 18 years and serves nearly 100 campers from grades 1-8.
The camp is presently based at the Columbia campus of Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy. Activities range from excursions to Boston Harbor to ride on Codzilla to visits from staff from the New England Aquarium.
“We give kids in the inner city a safe and fun summer experience, where parents know that their kids are safe when they go off to work, and where they are being mentored and are being challenged to do things that they had never done before or had the opportunity to do,” said Father Jack Ahern, pastor of Holy Family, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Peter’s churches— often called the “Tri-parish. “
The tennis clinics are taught by Tarini, 16, and his teammates, and are part of the Kids Serving Kids Boston Chapter, which Tarini founded this past winter. A nationwide organization, Kids Serving Kids (KSK) chapters collect and recycle new and used tennis racquets to encourage the sport of tennis among underserved youths. After seeing a friend from New York start the KSK Long Island Chapter, Tarini was inspired to do the same.
“I saw his page online and it interested me because I love volunteering and I love teaching and playing tennis, so I thought, ‘Why don’t I give this a shot,’” he said.
In addition to receiving instruction, campers are given a backpack with their own racquet to keep, as well as a can of tennis balls and an extra accessory, such as a sweatband.
Father Richard Conway, who also serves the three Dorchester parishes and the camp, said the campers were delighted with the gifts.
“When the kids first showed up the first day, they didn’t want to take off the backpacks we gave them with their rackets in them, they went everywhere with them,” said Fr. Conway. “These kids are getting an experience they have never had before. There isn’t a tennis racquet in the house for these kids, but now that they have it, they’ll get together and play.”