They are special individuals who have found a special place.
For many from a group who have been told what they cannot do throughout their lives, a three-day event at the Burbank Tennis Center showcased that they can indeed accomplish a great deal — and have fun doing it.
Smiles, laughter, high-fives and a lot of hugs were in abundance at the seventh annual Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Special Needs Individuals that took place Monday-Wednesday at the Burbank facility.
Vince Schmidt, a tennis professional, joined with former French Open doubles champions Murphy and Luke Jensen to form the nonprofit academy, which began holding events at the Burbank Tennis Center in 2005. The academy was established and is designed to meet the sport-specific needs of children and adults with various afflictions.
"What's great is that we often see the same people from year to year, and it becomes like family," said Schmidt, who has a son with Down syndrome. "It's just great to see how much fun they have and how much they really get out of it for the three days. It's a very big deal for many of them."