Rehabilitation

CMC teacher brings pickleball to prison

CMC teacher holding ticket for pickleball tournament.
Stacy Zelenski, a teacher at the California Men’s Colony, shows off her gold medal and golden ticket to the national competition after winning the West Regional USA Pickleball Tournament.

A California Men’s Colony (CMC) teacher and her love of pickleball has turned into a recreational and rehabilitative prison program.

Stacy Zelenski, a teacher assigned to the Post-Secondary Continuing Education Program at the California Men’s Colony (CMC), has enjoyed sporting competition her whole life. Prior to accepting a position at CMC, Zelenski was a public school teacher who coached softball, volleyball and basketball at the high school level.

In 2016, Zelenski discovered the roller hockey courts near her home had been converted to pickleball courts. As someone who believes in accepting new challenges while living a healthy and active lifestyle, she gave it a try. Five years later, she’s the top-rated female pickleball player on California’s Central Coast.

The CMC teacher has a competitive edge, which helped drive her pickleball plan. She crafted a comprehensive plan for a pickleball program for the incarcerated population.

The program, which has sponsors ready to donate time and equipment, will enhance the recreational and rehabilitative programming already offered to CMC’s incarcerated population. Zelenski hopes similar programs will be established at every CDCR institution.

CMC salutes Zelenski and all those who parlay their personal interests into providing new and innovative programs for the incarcerated population.

By Lieutenant John Hill

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