“We rise by lifting others.” - Robert G. Ingersoll
VT Seva has always strived to help NethraVidyalaya students in India. This time the Youth in our community stepped up. On August 27, 2023, the International Academy East Board and the Troy High School board members from VTS clubs came together to organize their first-ever collaborative Tennis Tournament event. Through this tennis tournament, both schools encouraged young tennis players to embrace their talent while promoting good health and supporting the education of Netra Vidyalaya students in India. The two student-led groups put in work from July to August to arrange this event. Board members from these schools took charge of planning and organizing this event. There were many tasks that the student leaders had to complete for a successful event: Promoting the event, collaborating with the Troy Public Library (TPL), speaking with the sports administration, finding sponsors, and encouraging students to volunteer.
Srihari initiated the event, he spoke with the sports administration at Troy High School, and booked the venue. Both school board members promoted the event through various avenues, placed flyers in various shops, shared on social media, distributed flyers to shoppers in front of shopping complexes, collaborated with the Troy Public Library (TPL), and many more. These young leaders found sponsors to support the event and encouraged club members to volunteer.
Over a series of meetings, the student board members planned out which tasks needed to be prioritized and continued by dividing the tasks to complete them efficiently. Those who were working on the promotion of the event created a flyer which they posted on social media as well as hanging the flyers in public areas such as the Troy Racquet Club (TRC) and TPL. Some of the board members were also a part of the TPL board which allowed for significant promotion in the event along with additional volunteers. While planning this event, we realized how crucial it would be to find a sponsor who would help not only to set up the event but also provide extra funds to support students in India. To find a sponsor, the group decided to create a brochure to advertise the opportunity and reach out to coaches at local tennis facilities such as TRC.
At first, it was a real struggle to get people to participate in the event. No matter how much we advertised, we still couldn’t get many kids to participate. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance to get those in our community to participate and send the message to others. Many of us took shifts standing in front of a Patel Brothers in Troy, handing out fliers, and talking to those who came in and out of the store about the event we were conducting. We handed out around 200 fliers and got many people not only interested in the event but our organization as a whole. We had an anonymous donor donate $100 even though they were not able to participate! This was a great example of how people in our community were willing to help in the cause we were so passionate about. For the next week, we continuously kept advertising the tournament whether it was posting about it on our social media every day, or hanging up more posters in places we worked such as LifeTime and Mathnasium. All this work finally paid off when August 27th rolled around.
On the day of the event, 13 teams had been registered to participate! Before the event officially began, volunteers helped check in the registered players. As more players started to arrive, they warmed up together on the courts. After everyone had arrived, the tournament was ready to begin. It started with groups of four playing 3 games with each partner in the group and then reporting their score to a volunteer. This helped determine where players would be placed in the rest of their matches. After the matches were played in groups, the players would play with their partners in a bracket where the winners of each match would advance to the next round. These matches were played best out of three to win in that round. During all matches, parent volunteers were on the sides of the courts as judges so that fair calls would be made and there would not be any disagreements. Once all matches finished, winners were announced and they were awarded with trophies. Additionally, all players received certificates for their participation.
Overall, we were very proud to announce that through both registration fees and sponsorships, we were able to support 6 students’ education. Our initial goal was to provide at least 2 students but we were able to triple our goal with the help of everyone in our community! It was truly an inspiration not only to the board members but also to the parents and youths who participated to see the direct effects of their work. Participants later mentioned to the board members how fulfilled they felt as they were able to help other students in our community. We can proudly say that everyone went home that day with a large smile on their face. Trophy or not, all the kids who contributed that day were true winners. Board members like to extend their appreciation to Troy High School, Sponsors, Participants, and Parents of Board members for helping the students identify sponsors and helping with the tournament, Varnika & Anuraag for reaching out to sponsors, Srihari for initiating the tournament & securing the venue, Venkat P from VT Seva Detroit for sponsoring trophies and helping with game, Eddie Lin for sponsoring water bottles and snacks, volunteers for setting up the game and refereeing the games, HS Club Co-Ordinator Priya Jaisankar for guiding the whole event from the initial stage to successful tournament.
Please click here for more pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/aiRfkgAQF99zDGS6A
Blog Written By: Abhiram Mudeganti