A gloomy forecast did not stop approximately 50 people from attending the second annual Mercedes-Benz Tennis Event at the Four Seasons Racquet Club last month, which raised around $30,000 for Ability Beyond.
Wiltonian Saurin Shah organized the five-and-a-half-hour event on June 27, drawing local residents and even attendees from Westchester County.
Ability Beyond is a nonprofit organization that has provided services and programs to individuals with disabilities in Connecticut and Westchester County for more than 60 years.
As a member of Ability Beyond’s board of trustees, Shah said he has organized the annual tournament as a fund-raiser for the past two years.
“I’m responsible for designing it, developing the marketing for it, going out and seeking sponsorships from corporations, and recruiting participants,” he said.
“I pretty much put the whole day together. It’s basically my way of contributing to the organization.”
Shah, who has been involved with Ability Beyond for two and a half years, said he was introduced to Ability Beyond by a friend whose family has a long history of involvement with the organization.
“I was looking to do some sort of charity work and I just really connected with the mission of this organization,” he said.
“I started thinking of ways to help them and that’s when I was asked to join the board, which is pretty much responsible for organizing fund-raising events.”
In February, Shah said, he began planning this year’s tennis tournament, which was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Danbury.
The tournament started out with a social event registration at 12:30, followed by an instructional clinic at 1.
“I wanted to design a tennis tournament that players of all different levels could enjoy, so we set up a two-hour clinic,” said Shah.
“Pros came out on the courts and taught beginner- and intermediate-level players different drills, good strokes and gave them a good workout.”
The clinic was followed by competitive event registration at 2:30 and three hours of round-robin matches.
In addition to partaking in social and competitive tennis events, participants had the chance to win prizes in a raffle and silent auction.
The winners of this year’s tournament were Wiltonians Rambo Vallabhajoyasulu and Jeff Mitchell, both of whom will advance to the Mercedes-Benz Sectional Event at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C., this October.
Mercedes-Benz will cover all the expenses of their trip to the Sectional Event, where they, as a team, will have the chance to win a VIP trip to the 2016 U.S. Open.
Click here to learn more about Ability Beyond Disability.