On a Sunday in September, Matthew Robinson and Saige Roshkoff hosted “Hits for Hope,” a fundraiser for Israel Tennis Centers, a non-profit organization that strives to improve the lives of children in one of the most conflicted regions of the world.
They organized a round-robin tournament for the 120 attendees, secured silent auction items and had Charles Wheeler and his pros from the High Performance Tennis Academy in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. donate their time and use of their facility, the Cynwyd Club.
The most impressive part? Matthew was 12-years-old, and Saige was 11.
The vision for “Hits for Hope” was conceived in June, when representatives from Israel Tennis Centers visited Green Valley Country Club. In the past, they would bring some of their junior players and host an informational clinic. This year, the organization chose to move in a new direction.
“I received a call from someone from Israel Tennis Centers asking if Saige would be interested in playing an exhibition match with some of the Israeli kids,” said Saige’s father, Rob Roshkoff, who had previously sat on committees for other Israel Tennis Centers events.
Saige jumped at the opportunity to be involved in something so unique, and invited her friend Matthew to participate as well.
From there, “Hits for Hope” was born.
“Matthew was really inspired by the event and wanted to do something more,” said Matthew’s mom, Liz Robinson. “I thought, this would be a great organization for his bar mitzvah project.’ He loved the idea and he and Saige ran with it.”
In preparation for the event, Matthew and Saige organized a round-robin format and personally visited local businesses and restaurants to secure donations.
The hard work paid off and 120 people attended the event, which raised close to $6,000.
Israel Tennis Centers, which opened its doors in 1976, has 14 facilities throughout Israel that provide safe havens to children. According to the Israel Tennis Centers website, the number of at-risk youth in Israel is rising every year. In 2011, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics assessed that 450,000 youth are living at-risk in Israel.
The Robinson and Roshkoff families plan to continue supporting the Israel Tennis Centers. Matthew started stringing racquets and donates a portion of the money he makes to the organization.
To read the stories of children who were positively affected by the work of Israel Tennis Centers, click here.