Grace College receives $24K for pickleball equipment

From left are Rick Swaim, Winona Lake Town Councilman; Jordan Weidner, director of the Gordon Health and Wellness Center; Jennifer Stewart, grants manager at K21 Health Foundation; Angie Summers, K21 office manager; and Bill Smith, K21 board officer. Photo Provided
Staff Report

WINONA LAKE — Grace College recently received a grant from the K21 Health Foundation for $24,863 in pickleball equipment for the Gordon Health and Wellness Center (GHAWC), which hosts open play for all skill levels Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The grant funded mobile nets, new balls and paddles, as well as temporary courts so that games can be played in the GHAWC throughout the winter and tournaments throughout the year, according to a news release from Grace College.

“This will be the second winter we have hosted community indoor pickleball through the winter months,” said Jordan Weidner, director of the Gordon Health and Wellness Center at Grace College.

“We have easily doubled the number of people we have coming in on a weekly basis, and the local pickleball Facebook group (Pickleball Phanatics) has grown to almost a thousand members. It is exciting to see how the community is taking to the sport. This new equipment will get a lot of use, and we are so thankful for K21’s support in making this possible.”

The K21 Health Foundation is a private foundation that focuses on improving health and wellness for the residents of Kosciusko County. The foundation has seen pickleball explode in the community, with people of all ages and every community enjoying this growing sport.

“I’ve never seen a sport grow so quickly, and you’ll see the outdoor courts are always busy in the summer, but in the winter, recreational opportunities are harder to come by in our community,” said Rich Haddad, president and CEO of K21 Health Foundation. “We’re thrilled to partner with Grace College in giving our community members an outlet to stay active year-round.”

Aside from the open community court time during the week, the college already has several pickleball tournaments slated for its students in the next few months. The GHAWC facilities are also available to Grace College & Seminary employees, alumni, community senior citizens, local law enforcement, first responders and current military personnel.

He said Last Friday morning, there were well over 30 prople  playing pickleball on the new courts

“We hope to see that continue to grow as a result of this grant.”

To learn more about the GHAWC, click here.

To learn more about the K21 Health Foundation, click here.