RYDF: Four Years and Counting!

In the fall of 2013, a handful of racquetball enthusiasts from the San Francisco Bay Area created a nonprofit to help grow racquetball by supporting young players who wished to enter and remain in professional racquetball. After quickly being granted a tax-exempt status, RYDF began actively working towards its goals.

RYDF remains firmly grounded in our mission of supporting young athletes from North, Central, and South America. We help provide the resources these promising athletes need to achieve success both on and off the court and to develop successful professional careers and personal lives. RYDF is pleased to highlight our successes over the last four years:

  • RYDF has raised and distributed near $235,000 thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors.
  • RYDF directly supported over 70 young men and 50 young women with their dream of playing at the professional level. Over a dozen RYDF-supported players have played with their national team in international competition.
  • RYDF provided shared housing at over 90 professional tour stops for the IRT, LPRT, and WRT. Housing provides these young athletes the opportunity to cut costs, and it also eases the stress and burden of arranging housing at tournament locations. Our athletes tell us this helps their focus and performance.
  • RYDF allocated 70% of its resources to directly support its players and youth through its three programs:
  1. Fitness Forever (Dream It),
  2. Dream Team (Reach It) and
  3. Athlete to Professional (Live It).

RYDF achieved these goals because of the support of so many of you. Our programs significantly helped young athletes in their striving to achieve success as professional racquetball athletes. Additionally, the 2017 launch of our Fitness Forever program promotes and provides fitness activity to youth with their families, while helping to “Save Our Courts” across the United States.

Fitness Forever is one of several RYDF initiatives.

Fitness Forever is one of several RYDF initiatives.

Future Plans

As RYDF heads into its fifth year, we are passionately driving these projects:

Dream Team

Currently, the Dream Team includes young men and women who have applied for and been approved as an RYDF-supported player. RYDF athletes receive housing at tour stops and a variety of other support to help them become more professional both on and off the court, including the setting of standards and expectations of our supported players.

Fitness Forever

This innovative program engages families and youth in locations where access to physical fitness and healthy lifestyles are limited by economic conditions. Through the support of fitness club organizations, such as In-Shape in Northern California, who provide families and youth three visits to experience a program that values family and friendship. 

Developed as a joint effort between the Reaching Your Dream Foundation and Dave and John Ellis, it started at the Stockton In-Shape club. Dave and John have expanded the program to nine additional Bay Area clubs. Most importantly, RYDF and the Ellis’ are working to export the model to other interested communities both inside and outside of California through a proposed partnership with USA Racquetball (USAR). 

Besides providing programing that addresses fitness needs of many families in underserved communities, the Fitness Forever program, through its volunteers, are helping to “Save Our Courts”. This program has shown so much success that for 2018, RYDF’s Board of Directors voted to double the funding and plan to prioritize this exciting and beneficial program.

Athlete to Professional

The Dream Team is comprised of young players who lacked the financial resources to attend professional tournaments, where they could get the experience needed to become competitive at the professional level. After four years of RYDF support, along with great dedication and training on their own and with coaches, many of these players have demonstrated incredible success, on and off the court.

RYDF provides players with personal life coaching sessions (thank you Mike Manoske, RYDF board member) and training on the mental and physical aspects of preparation and playing professional racquetball (thank you, Rocky Carson and Tim Baghurst). We provide and entertain articles on these topics as part of our monthly newsletter, delivering on our goal to help these players build a career within and beyond racquetball.

RYDF supported Mauro Rojas and Hollie Scott both returned from the Junior World Championships with medals.

RYDF supported Mauro Rojas and Hollie Scott both returned from the Junior World Championships with medals.

Learning and Growing

Reaching Your Dream Foundation continues to listen and grow. We understand the financial challenges many racquetball athletes face and racquetball in general. We are pleased with our successes at helping professionals develop themselves on and off the court. We recognize that many, maybe even most, will at some point move on, but still make professional racquetball a supplement to their overall career. We’re confident that focusing on success on and off the court helps these players make the choices that work for them and their families.    

We are very excited with the growth and participation of our Fitness Forever program, serving youth and their families with fitness opportunities and training. Thanks to Dave and John Ellis, and all volunteers helping with this!

We strive to better the sport of racquetball and its players and cannot do this without the support of like-minded individuals. We thank the many of you who have donated your time and money supporting our mission and those we serve. If you have ideas to help RYDF continue growing and improving its services, please contact us! We love hearing from you.

Gerardo Franco won the 2017 WRT Sportsmanship Award and also won the 2017 Junior World Championships in doubles with another RYDF supported player Lalo Portillo.

Gerardo Franco won the 2017 WRT Sportsmanship Award and also won the 2017 Junior World Championships in doubles with another RYDF supported player Lalo Portillo.