With over 800 Buddies nationwide, there are countless volunteers who have been instrumental in the success of the Buddy Up Tennis movement since its inception in each of our 24 communities. For our Athletes to get the most out of the Buddy Up Tennis, Buddy Up Fitness, and Buddy Up Summer Camp programs, dedicated Buddies act as that essential component that makes our program shine! Buddies become the teammates, cheerleaders, one-on-one Coaches, and most importantly, friends and advocates of our Athletes and partnering Down syndrome communities. We are truly grateful for all Buddies who have been dedicated to our Athletes over the past eleven years, and we wish to spotlight the following individuals, who have been fully committed to the Buddy Up Tennis movement since the beginning: 

Stephanie Anderson, Columbus and Phoenix: It all started with one Athlete, one Buddy, and one Coach. That Buddy was Stephanie Anderson. She and Coach Doug DiRosario wanted to teach Will Gibson, founding Athlete, how to play tennis at the age of three. Since 2008, Stephanie has continued to be a powerful advocate and supporter of Buddy Up Tennis as a member of the Buddy Up Tennis Board of Directors. In September 2019, she was instrumental in bringing Buddy Up Tennis to Phoenix, Arizona. Today, Stephanie is one of our valued leaders at the Buddy Up Tennis Phoenix location, bringing her enthusiastic passion for and dedication to our Athletes onto the courts each week. 

Besa, Columbus: Upon its founding in 2012, one of Besa’s first nonprofit partners was Buddy Up Tennis. Besa is a community-based volunteer organization that connects volunteers with nonprofits for service opportunities across Columbus. Each month since 2012, Besa has sent twelve to twenty amazing volunteers to be Buddies at the Buddy Up Tennis Columbus clinics. Many of these volunteers have become loyal and committed Buddies after their first Buddy appearance with Besa. Besa continues to support our Athletes by creating valuable volunteer connections in the Columbus community. 

Youngstown State University Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams, Youngstown: Since our 2013 launch, members of the YSU men’s and women’s tennis teams have consistently played, learned, and worked with our Athletes at clinics each week on the courts at Buddy Up Tennis Youngstown. The strong and invaluable partnership between YSU Tennis teams and Buddy Up Tennis Youngstown continues to this day, six years after our launch, thanks to the special relationships that have formed between the teammates and our Athletes. These teammates have truly gone above and beyond in their loyalty, commitment, and dedication!

Sarah Gray, Columbus: As Buddy Up Tennis programming continues to expand, Sarah Gray’s commitment to serving our Athletes grows proportionately. Since 2014, when she began with Buddy Up Tennis, Sarah has been a solid and instrumental Buddy. She now participates in all three of our programs in Columbus: Buddy Up Tennis, Buddy Up Fitness, and Buddy Up Summer Camp. Sarah delivers the crucial ingredients of understanding, patience, and excitement when working with our Athletes. She exudes positivity, which our Athletes find contagious, whenever she enters the courts, the gym, or Summer Camp. As always seems to happen with our programs, Sarah has not only had an impact on our Athletes, but our Athletes have truly brought joy to her life: “The Athletes brighten my Saturdays, and are the fuel that get me through the workweek. Their positivity each and every week reminds me and allows me to focus on the positive aspects of my day, week, job, and responsibilities. The Athletes have had nothing but a bright and sparkling impact on my life. I am fortunate that I found Buddy Up Tennis to be the highlight of my week.”’

Join the Buddy Up Tennis Movement today, and add sparkle to your life, and the life of our Athletes, by becoming a volunteer Buddy at one of our 24 locations nationwide. Click HERE to register online as a Buddy.