Grapevine by Alex Vukoder

Congratulations to Jennifer Towell for recently celebrating ten years of volunteering as the coordinator of the Akron Buddy Up Tennis chapter. Buddy Up Tennis is a high-energy fitness and adaptive tennis initiative that pairs athletes/students with volunteer buddies for 30 minutes of fitness and 60 minutes of adaptive tennis. “Buddies” offer encouragement, guidance and friendship to participants, ensuring they can enjoy tennis to the fullest. Clinics are held twice a month on Sunday afternoons at Springside Racquet & Fitness Club. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience.

Jen Towell (r) poses with an athlete and volunteer at a
“Buddy Up Tennis” event. Photo submitted.

Towell’s children all participate in Buddy Up Tennis in some manner. Tommy is often a Buddy, while Lucy helps at check in. Her middle son, Joey, has participated in the program for the past ten years as an athlete and had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Open in New York City with Buddy Up Tennis, where he had a mock clinic on center court right before Roger Federer played.

Towell estimates she has mentored and worked with more than 200 Buddies and close to 50 athletes while running the local chapter over the past decade. “Buddy Up Tennis lets me combine my love of tennis with my passion for advocating and including individuals with Down syndrome,” she said. “The athletes are so enthusiastic and work so hard. It’s been amazing to see their growth and skill over the years. I especially enjoy seeing the parents and caregivers connect, share resources and bond during the clinics.”

The local program also extended appreciation to long-time Buddy Up Tennis Coach, Alan Walker, upon his retirement, while also extending a warm welcome to new coach, Collin Trehan, whom Walker trained.

The Bath Business Association organized a “Thank You Breakfast” for Bath Township employees at the Regal Beagle in the Bath Nature Preserve. Kathy Sidaway chaired the event, which received support from numerous BBA members who contributed homemade goodies. John Shulan, Bill Snow, Jody Konstand, Torina White, James McClellan, Jim Wazlow, and Anita Converse provided a delightful array of breakfast treats. However, it was Nancy and Danny Fay’s home-baked pastries that stole the show.

Nancy Fay (l) and Kathy Sidaway of the Bath Business Association serve breakfast to the township employees. Photo submitted.

As Kathy highlighted, “This event has always been a joyous occasion, offering the Bath Business Association an opportunity to connect, express gratitude, and recognize the unsung heroes who diligently maintain the safety and smooth operation of our community.”

The Akron Children’s Museum rolled out the red carpet for its 7th annual “Grown-Up Play Date” this year, dazzling guests with a “Vegas Baby” theme. Amidst the glittering lights, adults indulged in an evening of playful extravagance, complete with casino games and a silent disco. With a turnout of approximately 300 supporters, the event sparkled with the spirit of generosity, all in aid of bolstering the museum’s operations.

The planning committee for the Akron Children’s Museum fundraiser wore attire that fit the “Vegas Baby” theme. Photo submitted.

Among the local guests in attendance were Chris and Melissa Fashinpaur, Ben and Tessa Tegel, Traci and Tobin Buckner, Cindy and Tim Farrell, Emily and Matt Carpenter, Beth and Mason Linderbaum, Linda and Ted Bare, Sue and Gordon Hartschuh, Dana Whitmire, Scott Amy, and Sydney Borcherding, each adding their own touch of glamour to the night’s festivities.

Twenty-one local children, spanning ages 5 to 17, brought Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, “Alice in Wonderland,” to life at the Western Reserve Playhouse in Richfield. Under the guidance of director Lauren Koleszar, with support from August Scarpelli on lights and set, Mia Herrera as stage manager, and Sophia Costanzo as costume designer, the young cast rehearsed for just 2.5 weeks before delighting audiences with three sold-out performances. Among the talented locals were Vivian Rozo, Violette Vukoder, Ellie Tartara, Harrison Vukoder, Vivian Vukoder, Simon Voris, and Stephanie Tartara. Their dedication and talent brought Wonderland to life, earning them well-deserved applause from all who saw their captivating performance.

Twenty-one local children performed “Alice in Wonderland” at the Western Reserve Playhouse. Photo submitted.

Sending heartfelt congratulations and deep admiration to our wonderful community! I would be delighted to share more stories and join in celebrating your achievements and good news. Please continue to share them with me at ∞