Sports nonprofit erasing barriers to playing tennis and pickleball

Sports nonprofit erasing barriers to playing tennis and pickleball

David Ensignia Tennis Academy (DETA), a leader in sports instruction and athlete development in South Florida, has announced the launch of DETA Friends, a nonprofit dedicated to providing sports programs and access to racquet sports like tennis and pickleball to youth, adults and families in underserved communities and with special needs.

“We believe sports are powerful tools for education, social development and community building,” said David Ensignia, co-founder of DETA Friends. “Through DETA Friends, we’re committed to making tennis and pickleball accessible regardless of ethnicity, sex, age or economics.”

DETA Friends evolved out of Ensignia’s tennis program, now operating out of four locations in Miami-Dade County. The academy, which opened in the 1990s, offers private lessons, clinics, training for high-performance athletes, tournaments, and afterschool and summer camps, often discounting and waiving fees for players and families on limited budgets.

“Our plan is to help people who have a love for tennis and now pickleball but whose resources keep them off the court,” Ensignia said. “This has always been our goal even before we started the nonprofit. We’ve helped more than 250 junior tennis players acquire scholarships to go to college.”

Ensignia and his staff have developed a series of programs for individuals with special needs; these are now core programs for DETA Friends and include the only ongoing wheelchair tennis program in Southeast Florida. Players meet every Monday at Continental Park Tennis Center in Kendall. DETA Friends plans to expand the program to create a pickleball wheelchair program.

DETA collaborates with Walmart and Break the Love, a national racquet sport website, to offer free weekly tennis and pickleball clinics and court reservations for adults over 50 every week at Continental Park Tennis Center and DETA Pickleball Club in Kendale Lakes.

The nonprofit partners with nonprofit The Rising Start and Early Intervention Behavioral Services EIBS to host tennis camps for children, teens and adults with neurodiversity conditions.

Ensignia, a tennis instructor and founder of Miami’s long-standing tennis academy, recognizes the potential of DETA Friends in empowering individuals to thrive through sports.

“Not everyone will turn pro,” Ensignia said. “Not everyone will compete, even at the amateur level. But you know what? That’s okay. Because tennis and pickleball can be the gateway to new opportunities. Sports have played a pivotal role in the success of my family. And now, we’re using sports to help others achieve their own victories.”

About DETA Friends
Founded in 2023, DETA Friends is an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to sports programs. The organization is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of racquet sports. Visit




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