Paying it Forward in Central PA
“Last year, our tennis family decided that it was time to give back,” said local tennis advocate Bobbie Campbell. “We all picked a month, and chose a cause near and dear to our hearts.”
The idea came about as Campbell, her husband Steve, and her group of tennis friends and teammates from central Pennsylvania got together to celebrate a group member’s birthday. The goal? Play some tennis, and do some brainstorming about ways to make a positive community impact.
At the time, the players couldn’t decide on a specific organization, so instead of focusing on one, they found a way to support a cause for each month of the year.
This philanthropic group of tennis friends have helped support organizations like Mr. Sandy’s Homeless Veterans Shelter, Speranza Animal Rescue and Hope Noted. They’ve also helped with causes that include mental health advocacy, local food pantries, and children with disabilities.
Each player had their own story about how they chose their organization. Campbell group member Brandi Tait’s story began the morning of December 11, 2021 when she woke up to the devastating news coming out of Mayfield, Ky. A deadly tornado ravaged the city the evening before – this sent Tait on her mission. She contacted the mayor of Mayfield asking how she could help. The mayor suggested she contact the Family Resource Center where the funds raised would assist the mental and emotional health of the children impacted by the tornado and support the victims' financial and material losses. Tait and her tennis community raised $800.
It is also important to the group that they help give back to the tennis community. They supported the initiative Serving Up Aces at the Koser Jewelers Tennis Challenge, a USTA Pro Circuit event, where sponsors and local residents could pledge $1 for every ace served during the tournament and it would be given to Schreiber Pediatrics.
“It’s our way of paying it forward and making a difference in a positive way,” Campbell said.
Now a year into this monthly tradition, the group has fundraised and donated more than $5,000 to numerous charities and organizations.
“Tennis has brought us together, but more importantly it has been, and will continue to be, the vehicle through which we are able to give back to others in need,” Campbell said.