Servite Tennis player Andy Loughran ’22 has teamed up with Orange Lutheran students Jacob Eusebio and Natalie Rodriguez to create Serving Advantage, a nonprofit aimed at providing summer camp opportunities for children with special needs.
Serving Advantage will host a weeklong tennis camp for children with special needs July 20 -24, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at The Anaheim Tennis and Pickleball Center. Campers will be children between the ages of 8 and 13 who have autism and/or a mild learning or physical disability.
The camp’s three founders are Trinity League student athletes Jacob Eusebio (Lutheran High School ’22), Natalie Rodriguez (Lutheran High School ’22) and Andy Loughran (Servite High School ’22). The mission of Serving Advantage is to help children with special needs develop a love and passion for the game of tennis by serving them the advantage with social skills needed for everyday life, while promoting awareness of and acceptance for those with special needs.
“Jacob, Natalie and I grew up playing tennis together, and we wanted to use our love for tennis to make our local community a safer and happier place, so we decided to take action,” said co-founder Andy Loughran.
“We realized that for kids with special needs it can be difficult to feel comfortable forming relationships with peers, and we saw how playing tennis could help them overcome that,” said co-founder Natalie Rodriguez.
During the week, each camper will learn the basics of tennis alongside a local high school tennis player, or a “Doubles Partner.” In addition to playing an instructional role, the Doubles Partners will serve as mentors and friends to the campers, helping foster social skills and connections in a safe, positive environment.
“My brother Evan was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, and when he picked up tennis, it really changed him in a positive way – he started talking and communicating a lot more with me and others,” said co-founder Jacob Eusebio. “It will be so cool to get to share that experience and feeling with other kids in the special needs community through our camp, where they can be themselves.”
The camp will be held at The Anaheim Tennis and Pickleball Center – the co-founders’ home courts – and professional tennis coaches from the center will lead the camp’s tennis instruction and activity.
“It means a lot to us to be part of Serving Advantage’s camp and to help our competitive players, who we’ve coached for several years, take the skills they’ve learned on the court and use them to make a difference,” said tennis professional and Anaheim Tennis Center coach Regi Bueviaje.
Prior to the camp, all volunteers and coaches will receive formal training from Creative Solutions for Hope, a behavioral therapy services firm, and a representative from the firm will be onsite during the camp.
The first session of Serving Advantage’s camp from July 20-24 will accommodate up to 10 campers. Serving Advantage is a 2020 grant recipient of the Dragon Kim Foundation. While Serving Advantage cannot accept monetary donations under the Fellowship, donations such as equipment and snacks can be accepted.
About Dragon Kim Foundation
The Dragon Kim Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, EIN #47-5197030. Its mission is to inspire youth to impact their communities while discovering and pursuing their passions. Under the Dragon Kim Foundation umbrella is the Dragon Kim Fellowship program. This program supports and trains high school students to develop and implement a business/project that impacts their community. Dragon Fellows are chosen from a competitive pool of applicants, matched with a mentor and then receive leadership training and a financial grant to implement their project. Through this social entrepreneurship incubator, the Dragon Kim Foundation instills valuable leadership experience and training, which has enabled the co-founders of Serving Advantage to pursue their passion. To learn more, visit http://dragonkimfoundation.org/.