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 athletes to reach his or her 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
As a veteran, I struggled to find myself after my injury. Wheelchair tennis has been that bridge between gaining my mental strength as well as my physical conditioning. I feel like there is nothing I can't achieve after finding that happiness in playing tennis.
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, we worked with the Western Wake Tennis Association in Cary to develop a weekly wheelchair tennis program at the Cary Tennis Park. We are thrilled to see their passion and commitment as they foster a successful program. Our goal is to replicate this model in additional cities across North Carolina, developing wheelchair tennis programs from the ground-up instead of the top-down. 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 reaching out to join one of our programs.
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 was a licensed therapist 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. 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.
David Marquina moved from Venezuela to the United States at age 18, playing competitive tennis at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and later transferring to Barton College. David started his teaching career as High Performance Coach at South Florida Tennis Academy in Fort Lauderdale, and then moved to Raleigh, to continue his teaching career at Northridge Country Club, Cary Tennis Park and Raleigh Racquet Club. In 2012, David accepted the role of Head Tennis Professional at Olde Providence Racquet Club. David holds professional certifications with USPTA Elite Professional (United Stated Professional Tennis Association), Special Olympics/PTR Adaptive Tennis, Registro de Tennis Professional (Spain) - PTR Professional in 10-Under Tennis, 11-17 Tennis, High Performance and Adult Development. (United States Professional Tennis Registry), Level 2. David was named the "NC Professional of the Year in 2008"
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.
Claire Cesta started playing tennis 12 years ago and has made it her life passion. She’s been a volunteer for 6 years for the Western Wake Tennis Association, first as a club representative and then as the VP of Finance. She’s still active with WWTA volunteering for wheelchair and abilities tennis and is the acting staff accountant. She also serves NCTA on the abilities tennis board, works as a personal trainer and Kinstretch instructor, and lives with her two kids and dog in Cary, NC.
Rob Brickels enters his 24th year as a member of the UNCW Athletic Department and serves as the Associate Athletic Director for External Operations. Brickels has served as Tournament Director for the CAA Baseball Championship nine times as well as for many other sports. In 1999 and 2013, Brickels was a finalist for the UNCW Staff Award for Excellence and continues to be an active member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators, North Carolina Collegiate Marketing Summit and Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors. Brickels is a proud tennis alumnus of UNCW. He and his wife, Mary, have been married for 30 years. They have a daughter, Sarah, and son, Davis.