Who We Are
This website was written by a wheelchair player for a wheelchair player.
Our mission is to expose individuals with all levels of physical disability to the sport of tennis. Improving a person’s overall wellbeing while instilling confidence in one’s capabilities through participation in adaptive sport.
Our goal is to provide more opportunities to play across North Carolina, to support our players to reach their potential whether at a recreational or competitive level of play and to integrate wheelchair athletes into existing community tennis programs and leagues.
Our impact reaches beyond the individual athlete to include our volunteers and the community we serve. We educate others on the benefits of wheelchair tennis and advocate for people with physical disabilities.
What People Say About Us
When I first started playing tennis 25 years ago, I immediately knew that my life was going to be okay despite my MS diagnosis. The friends I've made on the tennis court have given me the courage to live my life to the fullest.
Why We Do What We Do
Wheel Serve NC was created because we recognized the need for more wheelchair tennis programs in our state. After years of a successful and sustainable tennis program in Charlotte, we realized that others across the state deserved this same opportunity. With that in mind and the support of USTA NC, we worked with the Western Wake Tennis Association in Cary in their pursuit to develop a wheelchair tennis program at the Cary Tennis Park. We are thrilled to see their passion and commitment as they foster a successful program. This one spark lit a path for our other programs to become a reality. We want all players to know that whether they are a beginner or an elite athlete that they are welcome and that so much good will come from taking the leap and trying wheelchair tennis.
BENEFITS OF WHEELCHAIR TENNIS
Why it's Worth It
Wheel Serve NC strives to educate not only players, but also the community on the many benefits of wheelchair tennis. The benefits are not limited to just the individual player, but to anyone who volunteers or just witnesses what is happening on that tennis court. The satisfaction received as a player may be different than the ones received as a volunteer, but both are life-changing. As a player you are able to improve your self-confidence through personal achievement as well as gaining motivation and a support network. As a volunteer, your horizons are expanded by your interactions with people with a physical disability. Our hope is that tennis is a conduit for bridging relationships between the disabled and able-boded community and that through sport we gain a new perspective of each other.
Upper Body Strength
Fine Motor Skills
Change in Perception of Disability
Building a Community
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Who Makes it Happen
Kelly Flouhouse is an enthusiastic wheelchair tennis player. She came to the sport after a diving accident resulted in her becoming a quadriplegic. Prior to her injury, she worked in the mental health field and was pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology. Kelly has since become a spinal cord injury advocate and educator at Carolinas Rehabilitation. In addition to being the Co-Executive Director of Wheel Serve NC, she also serves on the USTA NC Adaptive Tennis Committee and the USTA Southern Wheelchair Committee. Kelly lives in Charlotte, NC where when she's not playing tennis, she enjoys sitting in the sun reading a good book.
Helen has been an avid recreational tennis player since the young age of ten years old. Relocating several times throughout the southeast, tennis has been her one constant, forging impactful friendships on and off the court. Helen served as a volunteer for the Adaptive Sports and Recreational Program in Charlotte, NC for 10 years. Helen and her family are the founders of the Strokes for Spokes Charity Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, raising over $100,000 in the past 8 years benefiting wheelchair tennis for the Adaptive Sports and Recreational Program. She currently is the volunteer Program Coordinator for Wheel Serve Charlotte. As Co-Executive Director of Wheel Serve NC, Helen is able to share her love for the game with players of all abilities. She also currently serves on the USTA NC Adaptive Tennis Committee. Helen resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband Bill, two daughters, Molly and Megan and their dog, Wilma.
Laura Weygandt started playing tennis at age 41 and quickly learned the physical and social benefits as well as learning how tennis can be used as a vehicle for good in a community and how inclusive the sport can be. Laura started working with Western Wake Tennis Association in 2010 in various capacities to start but now serves as the Executive Director. Much of the work she does in managing the CTA is outreach, including helping to start a Wheelchair Program in the area. Laura also serves on various state (9 years), section (6 years) and national committees (2 years) to help grow the sport and support the sport and participants.
Candy Pegram started playing tennis in her early thirties as a way to help her live a healthier life. Tennis soon became an obsession and through the years opportunities arose that allowed her to work in the tennis industry. These days she is the community, junior, program, and wheelchair coordinator for the Greater Wilmington Tennis Association. She specializes in channeling adult beginners through USTA NC's Try Tennis Adult Pathway and guiding these players all the way into USTA leagues. She is Level 2 certified through the Professional Tennis Registry and has a Tennis Performance Training certification through the International Tennis Performance Association. Her tennis philosophy is the same whether it is a junior, adult, senior, or wheelchair beginner--if you allow the player to have fun, they will return to the court over and over again.
Doreen has held various executive positions in Channel Sales, Product Management and Business Development in multi-national corporations including AT&T, BellSouth, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, and IBM. Partnering with large technology firms to create new business alliances, Doreen was responsible for driving multi-million dollar contracts to license Intellectual Property to global partners. After retiring from IBM, Doreen utilized her background to assist in developing and executing financial and operational plans in various voluntary roles including HOAs, Airport Community Roundtable, and Church Vestry. Doreen also volunteers at Hippo-therapy clinics, enabling children and adults with disabilities to achieve functional goals through the use of equine assisted activities. Doreen is married with two grown children and is an avid hiker, runner, sky diver, and fossil hunter.
Michelle began playing tennis in 2016 and very quickly became involved with wheelchair tennis while playing with her husband Kelly at Dilworth Elementary in Charlotte, NC. As a beginner in the sport, she became interested in expanding opportunities for wheelchair players to play in leagues and recreational formats on a regular basis. Through the Lake Norman Tennis Association, Michelle organized an Adaptive/Wheelchair Tennis League and introduced the Serve Aces Mini Tennis League to wheelchair players. Michelle is an experienced volunteer and former CPA specializing in Derivative Accounting. She is a graduate (1992) of The College of William & Mary with a BBA, Concentration in Accounting along with her husband, Kelly (1990), who was the captain of the men's tennis team. Michelle and Kelly enjoy playing in husband-wife and mixed doubles tournaments. They have 2 daughters in middle and high school.
Diane has been an active volunteer with wheelchair tennis in Charlotte for several years, initially with the Adaptive Sports and Adventure Program (ASAP) and now with Wheel Serve NC. Her background is in Physical Therapy where she worked in both physical rehabilitation and orthopedic settings. She has since retired from the profession, but continues to have a passion for maximizing the physical capabilities of all players. Diane plays on several tennis teams in Charlotte. She loves the sport for many reasons, but especially for the friendships developed on the court. Her vision is to expand the scope of tennis in North Carolina to include more opportunities for everyday players and wheelchair athletes to experience the fun of playing together. Diane enjoys hiking, reading, tutoring literacy, and spending time with her husband, Mike, and their three sons.