A tennis-loving St. Petersburg man is now using what he learned as a player to help the community.

Coach Rob Perry teaches kids the art of hitting a tennis ball. He has been pursuing his passion in his community of South St. Pete for about 20 years, through his free program”Sowing tennis seeds.”

“It’s my passion just to make sure the kids in the community are exposed to a sport they’re not normally exposed to as well,” Perry said.

Perry started playing when he was 13 years old. He was No. 1 in the state for men 25 and older in the ’90s, and he had a college scholarship playing tennis. Perry said giving back to the community and helping the kids gave her a sense of satisfaction, and it’s a feeling that has spread to other parents as well.

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“Every coach needs a little help. I had just sat down with my daughter and realized I could do something,” volunteer coach Jay Trotter said. “Instead of looking at my phone texting, I’m just lending a hand.”

Perry said coaching tennis isn’t just about trying to find the next big tennis star.

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“We want to make sure we make them better, better citizens, better kids through tennis and education,” Perry said. “So that’s one of the things we’re working on here.”

Perry said children learn structure and discipline to help them succeed in life. Children ages five through high school graduates can participate in the program.

Perry said he had a 100% graduation rate. If you would like to help or need more information, visit www.sowingseedstennis.org.

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