Serving up Opportunities
Teenage quartet breaks the net, making tennis accessible to all.
By Naya Seth
Photos courtesy of Overhead Opportunities
Juniors at Brophy College Prep—Logan Phillips, Arin Gopakumar, Ryan Zerbib, and Naren Gudavalli—have not only been acing tennis courts for approximately seven years but also acing community service with their nonprofit organization, Overhead Opportunities, founded about a year and a half ago. Their mission is to make tennis available to everybody!
With personal understanding of the high expenses involved in tennis lessons and equipment, they aimed to serve prospective tennis players who found these costs prohibitive. The boys garnered support from several organizations, including The Loyola Academy, Xavier College Prep, the Challenge Foundation, and USTA Southwest, and secured a $1,000 grant from USTA for equipment.
Currently, their goals are to expand throughout Arizona and to new states, including California, Texas, and New York. Additionally, when they go to college, they hope to start a few subchapters specific to the area that they are in. Even though all of the co-founders work together to make Overhead Opportunities possible, they each have important jobs within the organization.
Logan is the CEO, and he oversees the organization to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Naren is the CAO, and he supervises all of the clinics, monitoring who will be attending and the volunteer coaches. Arin is the COO, and he handles reaching out to other organizations and schools to help Overhead Opportunities grow. Ryan is the CFO, and he manages all of the finances, including applying for the grant and creating a GoFundMe.
Youth Clinics Serving Up Skills and Fun
Held most Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Xavier College Prep—who kindly donated their courts—these clinics run for most of the year, excluding summer, and welcome players for single or multiple sessions. Registration and coaching application forms are available on their website: overheadopportunities.org. If you have had some tennis experience before and want to help out with coaching, you can submit a form also available through their website.
The teenagers love tennis because it is a fast-paced sport, and if you win a match, it feels good because you know it is due to the effort that you put into it. They wanted to share this love of tennis with others. Throughout their time coaching, the co-founders have developed several favorite memories. One day, they received an email from the supervisor of the Challenge Foundation, who partners with local schools, saying that the kids were trying to play tennis during recess, in their free time. This meant a lot to them; it showed them that they had made an impact on their students.
Making an Impact
One day, an email from the Challenge Foundation reported kids trying to play tennis during recess. This, alongside other cherished memories like a rewarding Halloween event and securing weekly court time at a private facility through Xavier, affirmed the tangible impact of their initiative.
Lend a Hand
Support their mission by donating to their GoFundMe, enabling them to purchase more equipment for their students, at gofundme.com/f/overhead-opportunities.
In their journey, these young men learned the power of perseverance and witnessed the profound impact of their efforts on others’ lives. Their advice to other young changemakers: Put yourself out there. Numerous people would love to assist you, and relentless pursuit can lead you to unimaginable heights.