Tennis Camp for Kids with Special Needs
In 2017, Metea Valley High School student, Shankar Jambunathan, decided to start a free, student-run tennis camp for kids with special needs.
“Camp Match Point is a free tennis camp for kids with special needs. We help get the kids exercise, especially since a lot of them don’t have local sports leagues for the kids of their ability levels so we created an environment where they can get exercise and be more fit and stay healthy,” said Jambunathan.
“We usually start with the cardio where we run around the courts and then we have a circle and we do stretching, just to get all the muscles warmed up. We do some push-ups, some curl ups,” said Jambunathan “And then there’s an obstacle course so they go around through the ladders, different cones to work on agility.”
How it Started
The high school senior chose tennis since he’s been playing for seven years and is on the school’s tennis team. And the reason he founded Camp Match Point is personal.
“My brother has Down syndrome and so I realized my experience with him is way different than what most people’s experiences are with kids with special needs. I kind of know that he doesn’t get as much exercise as other kids his age. And so I knew that if there was a need for him, then there’s definitely kids like him who could use the exercise,” said Jambunathan. “It’s also for other people [volunteers]. If you’re not around kids with special needs you’re kind of in your own bubble. So you don’t really understand there are kids who maybe aren’t getting the same experiences that you’re getting.”
Importance of Camp Match Point
That’s why it’s important for Jambunathan to provide these classes to the kids with the help of the student volunteers.
“Sometimes this can be the only social interaction they’re getting so because of that I really understand that this is important to them, they really look forward to this every week,” said Jambunathan. “And so it really makes me happy when we’re able to do it and I’m happy I can provide them with the experience that they hopefully will never forget.”
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.