The Mid-Atlantic Open Pickleball Tournament is organized by Breakthrough Community Sports, Inc. (BCS), a nonprofit organization that promotes active living through playing sports. BCS partners with local and national sponsors, in-kind contributors, and volunteers to host 300+ players from 15+ states. Our theme is “Playing To Help Others.” We want to continue to share our love for the sport, to increase the profile of pickleball in the DC Metropolitan area, and to align our tournament with several nonprofit organizations as a way to increase community awareness and support.
Our Charity Partners are: - Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area: Andy Leighton, a BCS Board member, has Parkinson’s Disease and finds that playing pickleball quiets his symptoms. He also loves the social aspect of the game and encourages those with Parkinson’s Disease to play pickleball.
- Educate the Girls, Inc.: The dedicated founders of this small nonprofit organization will be selling beautiful Ugandan baskets during the tournament. The proceeds help fund the education of girls in Uganda.
-Arlington County Schools (APS): We are collecting new and gently-used paddles to support pickleball programs in Arlington County public schools.
Helen White is the USAPA District Ambassador for Northeast Virginia and Washington, D.C. and the founder of Breakthrough Community Sports, Inc.
Tania Yates is a certified professional fitness trainer in Arlington, VA and loves to play pickleball and volleyball. Gail Scavongelli is a USAPA certified referee and is the Certified Referee on the Atlantic Sectional Certified Referee Evaluation Committee (SeCREC) which covers 24 states.
BREAKTHROUGH COMMUNITY SPORTS, Inc.
Breakthrough Community Sports, Inc. creates, promotes, and executes community-based programs that focus on promoting active living through playing sports. Our purposes are achieved through community events and initiatives directed towards the general public, and especially older adults. Board Members: Helen White, President and Founder Ron Allen, Vice President and Secretary Andy Leighton, Treasurer
Helen began her career in sport management as the first female Director of Intramural Sports at Catholic University. She is a lifelong advocate for encouraging people of all ages and abilities to play sports and is a leading expert in this area. She has competed in National tournaments in pickleball, tennis and basketball and has taught and coached in all three sports. She has organized and directed numerous pickleball tournaments and other sports events. She currently serves as the USA Pickleball Association’s District Ambassador for Northeast Virginia and Washington, D.C. She is passionate about using the power of sports to promote health and wellness and continues to be inspired by older adults who play sports. In 2013, Helen received a Master’s degree in Sport Management from The George Washington University. She was recently profiled in the February 2020 issue of Northern Virginia Magazine. See www.northernvirginiamag.com/health/fitness-features/2020/02/12/meet-the-local-seniors-proving-when-it-comes-to-good-health-age-is-just-a-number/
Ron has over 35 years of professional work experience in the public and private sectors, and national membership organizations in the areas of public policy, research, national program development and implementation, writing and editorial services. He retired from AARP where one of his projects was serving as the Race Organizer for the National Triathlon Race Series, the nation’s first and largest sprint triathlon and training program series for persons age 50+. Ron has over 35 years of experience playing and competing in a variety of sports including swimming, water polo, long distance open water ocean swimming and triathlons. He has extensive experience in organizing race events including national championships, regional and local competitions, and non-competitive community fitness events intended to increase physical activity among persons 50+ and encourage them to adapt healthy behaviors to ensure their ability to live life to the fullest. Ron received a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Buffalo.
Andy is a retired human resources executive with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). He is a mediator and mediator mentor in Arlington, Virginia General District Court. As an amateur horn player, he greeted almost 20,000 veterans with patriotic music through the Honor Flights program. Andy has played competitive tennis since college and is the Past President of the Federal Departmental Tennis League. He served as captain of the MWAA tennis team for more than ten years. He has switched to pickleball and has won matches at the local, regional, and national tournament levels. He enjoys teaching pickleball to adults of all ages. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease over ten years ago and writes about pickleball and PD. See https://gammasports.blog/parkinsons-disease-and-pickleball/. Andy received a Masters Degree in Adult Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.