This year's Adopt-A-Family event will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at Broughal Middle School. The Lehigh men’s and women's tennis teams hosted a fundraiser tournament to help fund raise for the event. (Courtesy of Catie Meighan)

Tennis rallies to serve the local community

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The Lehigh men’s and women’s tennis teams hosted a fundraiser tournament on Oct. 19 to raise money for Adopt-A-Family, a program Lehigh students support annually around the holidays. Adopt-A-Family helps to provide gifts to children whose families may not be able to afford many presents during the holiday season.

Every year, each Lehigh athletic team, as well as other organizations on campus such as Greek houses, are paired with a family from the Bethlehem community. They are tasked to raise money throughout the fall semester to buy gifts for their respective family as the holidays approach.

“As a tennis team, we wanted to provide for (them),” said Leigh Friedman, a junior tennis player.

Lehigh athletic teams will join together at Broughal Middle School on Dec. 6 to meet their families and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season together. They will have the opportunity to play games and open a few gifts with their families. Friedman said the gifts are usually toys for the children and gift cards and gas money for the parents.

The men’s tennis team fundraised with the women’s tennis team and four Greek houses — Alpha Phi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Theta Chi and Psi Upsilon.

Men’s tennis senior Bryant Born coordinated the event. He reached out to each organization and created a mixed doubles bracket for everyone to play in and a minimum $5 participation fee from each team.

Born is one of the co-captains of C.O.A.C.H. — the Community Outreach by Athletes Who Care About Helping —  a community volunteer group of Lehigh athletes who service the South Bethlehem community. A proponent of connecting athletics and Greek life for philanthropy events, he has attended Interfraternity Council meetings to connect the two groups.

“We all had a fun time and it was a good way to meet and connect with new people,” Born said.

The combination of Lehigh athletics and Greek life opened the event up to a lot of students who do not usually interact with each other on a daily basis.

“This event opens everyone’s eyes to how segregated our campus is and that there are so many people out there we don’t know,” said Allie Gleich, ’20,  Alpha Phi’s philanthropy chair. “There’s more of a pride for Lehigh itself and not just the group that you’re in.”

Gleich said everyone has a different perspective of Lehigh and leads a different life day to day. She said members from each of the groups represented at the fundraiser were able to learn from each other and their different experiences. 

Matthew Taffet, ’20, a member of Theta Chi, said combining socialization and charity work was a fulfilling experience.

“It’s definitely a humbling experience to see the impact we can have on (the families),” Taffet said.

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