My son Will was fascinated with the game of tennis at the early age of three. Will has Down syndrome and I could not find an adaptive tennis program for him so, I created one. Buddy Up Tennis is an organization that creates opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome to play, learn, grow through tennis, fitness and our summer camp programs. Our first clinic debuted in 2008 and the rest is history as we now serve over 650 Athletes in 25 cities across the United States.
Today, Will is 15 and has aspirations to become a fireman. I am already looking ahead, but I am concerned with the existing and limited programming. The programming that is meant to propel those with Down syndrome into the community is not tailored to our Athletes and their strengths, challenges, and interests.
Although society has come far in including our Athletes and helping them to become essential members of the community, we still have a way to go in ensuring that every individual with Down syndrome can proudly achieve more and live meaningful lives of self-worth and contribution.
For many individuals with Down syndrome, pathways to realizing dreams of becoming a fireman, teacher, police officer, lawyer, nurse, and more are simply not available. At Buddy Up Tennis, we create a customized learning environment for our Athletes to grow and reach their fullest potential. We believe in their abilities, have high expectations, and are ceaselessly working to create a bridge to reach for their dreams.
This year, my team and I provided the Buddy Up Tennis Athletes with the exciting chance to step into the shoes of their desired community contribution role. Each Athlete’s dream speaks volumes, and Buddy Up Tennis is committed to helping those with Down syndrome break down every barrier so they can achieve these dreams.
With the hope and goal of enhancing the ability of all of those with Down syndrome to live out their dreams, our future is truly brighter than ever. I invite you to join the Buddy Up Tennis journey in creating an environment where individuals with Down syndrome can shatter expectations and become the firefighters, police officers and teachers of tomorrow!
More info: buddyuptennis.com
Will Gibson, Fireman
Joey Ruffle, Kidzbop Dancer
Cody Young, Police Officer
Payton Murphy, Business Woman
Brian Sansone, Rec Center Coach
Jack Hickey, GF Chef
Maria Rudy, Dog Sitter
Brady Finn, Football Coach
Mario Lehman, Mechanic
Kambree Manns, NICU Nurse
Anna Dunlope, Actress
Jon Lehman, Costume Shop Employee
Cameron Campfield, Football Manager
Aidan Elliott, Construction Worker
Marcy Verdeyen, Hair Stylist
Taylor Norman, Singer
Aidan Clegg, Pizzaiolo
Ben Barbour, Sports Enthusiast
Sarah Davis, Daycare Worker