Buddy Up Tennis started with a mom in Ohio who wanted to provide tennis opportunities for her son with Down syndrome. Eight years later, the program has spread to 15 cities and serves more than 500 individuals with Down syndrome.
Most recently, Buddy Up started at Birchwood Tennis & Fitness in Scranton, Pa., thanks to Dr. Murugu Manickam, who saw the benefits of the program in his patients.
Buddy Up Tennis provides an enjoyable supportive environment where athletes can learn to play tennis while engaging in activities in order to improve their athletic, social and emotional development with one-on-one attention from their Buddies.
“I used to live in Ohio and became very familiar with the Buddy Up Tennis program,” Dr. Manickam said. “A lot of my patients were sedentary and overweight and I thought Buddy Up was a great option for activity. I started volunteering soon after I started referring people and I was immediately hooked.”
Four years later, Dr. Manickam moved to Scranton and wanted to pick up right where he left off in Ohio. He learned from his time in Ohio that, for many of the participants, their experience at Buddy Up was their only significant physical activity for the week. He talked to families and support organizations in the area and there was a lot of support for the program in Scranton.
It didn’t take much convincing for Birchwood to become home to the newest Buddy Up Tennis program.
“As a buddy, you can’t help but smile and have fun because the athlete’s enthusiasm is infectious,” said Dr. Manickam. “You can see the athletes really grow and develop in their skills which really just reinforces everyone. I’m happy to have my Saturday morning ritual of going to Buddy Up back in my life.”
To learn more about Buddy Up Tennis, click here.