Antonio Ramos captured many hearts and won the Disney Dreamers and Doers Award by delivering an inspiring and powerful speech about his experiences with Buddy Up Tennis.  He is the older brother to Enrique, who has Down syndrome, and one of our leading Buddies of Buddy Up Tennis at the USTA National Campus.

Antonio with his little brother and Buddy Up Tennis Lake Nona Athlete, Enrique Ramos.

In his speech, Antonio highlights the community of Athletes, Buddies, and future therapists and teachers that Buddy Up Tennis has created. Only an incoming freshman in high school, Antonio recognizes the importance of sharing the Buddy Up Tennis experience with college students, “If the UCF students’ course of study involves being a therapist and/or working with children with Down syndrome, the students can have a taste of what that is like. The UCF students are given more practice working with children with Down Syndrome, which gives them an advantage when it is their time to apply for a job since they already have experience working with these types of children.”

Through his work as a Buddy, Antonio has seen the impact that the program has on his brother, and on all of the Athletes involved. He notes how the impact of Buddy Up Tennis extends beyond the courts. “Another reason Buddy Up Tennis is inspiring is because it motivates the children to do better in school and at home”, states Antonio.

As a Buddy, Antonio is getting just as much out the 90 minute clinics as the Athletes. Antonio shares, “My Athlete’s name is Kayla, and she is, in my opinion, one of the hardest workers on the court. She shows me how to be positive, even when I lose, and to be the best I can, regardless of what hinders me, such as an illness or even fear. She is my inspiration, mainly because she gets me moving, even when my legs are about to collapse!”

Buddy Up Tennis Lake Nona Buddy, Antonio and Athlete, Kayla participating in the Fitness portion of the Buddy Up Tennis Clinic.

We are so grateful and fortunate to have young Buddies like Antonio leading the way at the USTA National Campus for Buddy Up Tennis!