Tennis has helped Orange Lutheran rising junior Jacob Eusebio bond with his younger brother Evan, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.
“It all happened by chance,” Eusebio said. “My mom and I asked my brother at one of my tennis lessons if he wanted to play tennis and we were both really surprised when he said yes. So for the last three years, we’ve played tennis together nearly every single Sunday.”
Seeing how much joy tennis brings Evan inspired Jacob to do something bigger for the autism community. So he got together with his friends Natalie Rodriguez and Andrew Loughran, two other Trinity League tennis players (Natalie at Orange Lutheran and Andrew at Servite), and got to work creating a tennis camp for children with autism and mild learning and/or physical disabilities.
The camp is called Serving Advantage and is planned for July 20-24 at the Anaheim Tennis and Pickleball Center.
It will host 10 campers, ages 8-13, with each camper paired with a local high school tennis player. It will feature professional instruction from Anaheim Tennis Center coaches and include formal volunteer training and supervision from Creative Solutions for Hope.
The camp will adhere to proper social distancing measures, but will be done virtually if necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Of course we want to do it in person, but if it comes to that we’re hoping to work around that obstacle by hosting the camp on Zoom,” Rodriguez said.
The camp currently has a waiting list of four, so if it’s moved online, then every camper will be able to participate.
Eusebio, Loughran and Rodriguez were chosen as fellows by the Dragon Kim Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, that trains and supports high school students to develop and implement project ideas that impact their communities. As fellows, Eusebio, Loughran and Rodriguez were awarded a grant that has helped fund Serving Advantage.
In addition to annual summer camps, Eusebio, Loughran and Rodriguez plan on putting on clinics and working with adaptive PE classes in the future.
“We’re planning on continuing this into the fall, winter and spring,” Loughran said.
Learn more about Serving Advantage by visiting their website.