Extending its commitment to further help tennis ball boys and trainers nationwide, Pinoy Tennis Trainers (PTT) organized a bicycle donation drive called Bikes for Life to continue helping PTT scholars, amidst the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
With the height of the global health crisis and the new normal setup, sports events and activities have been affected. PTT trainers were restricted from doing their regular training sessions, which badly disrupted their main source of income. PTT decided to start the bicycle donation drive to help their trainers and scholars be able to find another source of income, by providing them a safe way to travel, while face-to-face training sessions are still not allowed.
“During my time with our trainers and scholars, I have heard their stories as fathers and breadwinners, and how their work as ball boys and trainers was able to provide for their families. With private classes and sports clubs still closed indefinitely, my main worry is how they can continue to earn for their everyday expenses and still provide for their families’ daily needs,” Sebastien Lhuillier, PTT co-founder and Bikes for Life Project Head, shared.
Through PTT’s official website and Facebook page, the donation drive was able to give away 20 bicycles to deserving PTT Scholars. For them, this is a chance to continuously earn a living whether it’s inside or outside the playing court.
“We want to thank our friends who donated bicycles. Our PTT trainers are very grateful and excited to use these bikes to have another way to earn for their families. As we continue to experience and struggle through the effects of this health crisis, we wanted to somehow help them to have a better fighting chance to survive this pandemic and continue to provide for their families,” Lhuillier added.
Gerundio Zabala, Jr., like many other PTT trainers and scholars, lost their regular source of income, due to the pandemic. He was struggling to provide for his family since the start of lockdown, a year and a half ago. With his new bike, he can continue supporting his family through his side hustle of food delivery services, “Di na po ako nakapagturo since the first lockdown dahil nagsara na ang mga tennis courts na malapit sa akin at hindi na rin po ako makapunta ng malayo, dahil mahirap at delikado ang biyahe. Malaking tulong ang bike na ito para sa pag-dedeliver ko ng food at pang-travel ko na rin po araw-araw, pag nagbukas na ulit ang mga tennis courts.”
Johnny Manalang, another PTT tennis trainer, is one of the first batches of recipients who benefited from PTT’s Bikes for Life initiative. To be able to sustain his family, he is currently doing delivery errands and services as a “Pasabike” driver using his new bike.
“I’d like to thank PTT and Sir Sebastien for giving us another way to earn for our family. I can definitely use this for a PASABIKE driver,” he said.
Instead of worrying about his daily transportation expenses going to work, Jhomarie Bartolome, another PTT scholar beneficiary, had this to say:
“Gagamitin ko po itong bike na ito sa aking trabaho po. Di na ako maglalakad araw-araw tuwing papasok ako ng trabaho.”
Jeremiah Latorre, one of PTT’s trainers from Sta. Mesa Tennis Club will be using his new bike as his means of commuting going to various tennis courts when it finally opens again. With his new bike, he can ensure that he, alongside his students, is safe.
“Thank you Sebastien sa bike na ito. Magiging instrumento ito sa aking trabaho, mula pagpunta sa iba’t-ibang tennis court at sa pagtuturo ng tennis,” Latorre said.
Since its formation in 2015, brothers and co-founders of PTT, both Stephan and Sebastien Lhuillier have focused on the sports program’s objective of helping out Filipino tennis trainers sustain and alleviate their living conditions by further enhancing their skills and knowledge of the game.
Before the pandemic-imposed lockdowns in the country, as a way to equip and empower the local tennis trainers in the country even more, PTT was offering several trainings, workshops, and other activities to level up their skills. To date, the sports program has been able to train more than 700 coaches, nationwide.
Aside from the Bikes for Life donation drive, PTT also formulated the campaign, Adopt-A-Racket which centers on racket donations from tennis enthusiasts, national players, and racket companies. This is given away as incentives to active and excellent PTT participants.