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SMC tennis partners with Hannah & Friends for benefit

| Thursday, February 11, 2016

The South Bend Racquet Club hosted local organization Hannah & Friends and the Saint Mary’s tennis team last Saturday for “Serving Up an Ace for Awareness and Compassion,” a fundraiser benefitting children and adults with special needs.

Saint Mary’s junior and Hannah & Friends intern Hannah Monte said all proceeds would go to the organization, which former Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis, his wife and their daughter Hannah founded more than ten years ago.

“There were about ten tennis courts set-up for the Round Robin match,” Monte said. “Players included for the South Bend Racquet club, people in the community and Hannah & Friends participants. We also had courts open for just children to play around on.”

She said the College’s tennis team led warm ups for Hannah & Friends before the tennis match, and this was the first year the two organizations partnered together.

Monte also said she was glad to see the College team partner with the organization.

“It was great to see two communities that I’m involved in get together for a great cause,” she said.

The organization’s assistant director of operations, Saint Mary’s alumna Kayle Sexton, said she came up with the idea of bringing together the organizations because she played on the College’s tennis team for four years.

“This event was a great success,” Sexton said. “We were very pleased with the turnout and cannot wait to do it again next year.” 

Sexton said she was thrilled by the tennis team’s support and ability to lead residents in drills.

Saint Mary’s College tennis player senior Margaret Faller said three residents from Hannah & Friends participated in the event.

“Other residents from Hannah & Friends joined us to watch the match play, eat snacks and do crafts,” she said.

Fellow College tennis player junior Kaitlyn Venters said there were tennis-themed coloring pages non-participating residents could work on while the tournament was going on.  

“Before the tournament started we showed participants from Hannah & Friends how the Saint Mary’s team warms up before practicing,” Venters said. “Then we did some drills to help them practice their volleys, backhands and forehands.”

Faller said she appreciated the opportunity to share her love of tennis with the residents.

“My favorite part of the event was simply being able to spend time with the participants and share with them a sport I’m truly passionate about,” Faller said. “This is definitely an event we would love to be apart of again next year.”

Monte said the event combined something the team loves to do with the opportunity to spread the organization’s message.

“The event was a major success and definitely something we would like to do in the future,” Monte said, “Through this event we were able to truly encompass Hannah & Friend’s mission, which is creating awareness and compassion.’’

According to Sexton, Hannah & Friends’ future events include a barbecue in May and a 5k Run and Fun Walk in June.  

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