Topeka Tennis Community Funds Car For New Coach
In February, the Topeka tennis community was excited to welcome Brad Prada, a young professional tennis coach who joined the team at Genesis Health Clubs. Prada is originally from Colombia and played tennis for Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee. He moved to Topeka to begin his career without knowing anyone in the area. He was just getting on his feet when the coronavirus shutdown began.
Inspired by Prada’s positivity and determination, local USTA players Ben Seitz and Ali Fakhrai began fundraising money to purchase a car for Prada. They received overwhelming support from the tennis community.
“We were hoping to get about $2,500, but we are now over $7,200 raised less than two weeks,” Seitz said. “It’s been amazing. A lot of people have donated and been part of this even though they haven’t met Brad yet.”
With the funds raised, the community was able to purchase a car and cover the first months of insurance and gas expenses. The gift was presented to Prada on April 18 and was live streamed on Facebook so that Prada’s parents could watch from Colombia.
Fakhrai says that the kindness seen in this act is a fundamental part of the Topeka tennis community.
“Our community is all about exploring possibilities and seeing what we can do,” Fakhrai said. “In this scenario I am privileged and blessed to be able to do what we’ve done here. It’s awesome to be a part of something like this that sets the tone in the rest of the community that we are here for you.”
Although Prada has only been living in Topeka for a few months, his positive attitude has left an impact on the people around him.
“When he first got here, he gave free 30-minute lessons to anyone who wanted one for the first month,” Seitz said. “He really connected with a lot of people that way. Almost everybody I know did one with him. He’s just very high energy and he brings everyone around him up.”
Fakhrai and Seitz are thankful for everyone who participated in welcoming Prada to the tennis family and making this gift possible.
“That’s what’s tennis is all about,” Fakhrai said. “It’s really more about the people than the game, that’s who we are.”
Photos courtesy of Ryan Bishop.