Good Kid Award recipient, Matthew Bransky, nets a win with tennis program for autistic kids.
by Karyn Brodsky
Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Of course, Franklin never knew Matthew Bransky of Dallas, but it’s certain he would have highly approved of his efforts.
Matthew, the 17-year-old son of Adrienne and Aaron Bransky of Dallas, is bringing ACEing Autism, an instructional tennis program for kids with autism, to the community. His 14-year-old brother, Josh is autistic and Matthew has always been interested in helping him and creating awareness for the condition. He sees ACEing Autism as an ideal way to support a cause that’s near and dear to him and to his family.
Launching a new tennis program is ambitious, particularly for someone like Matthew who is already quite busy. An ambassador for the Parish Episcopal School in Dallas, as well as a member of its tennis team, Quiz Bowl team, National Honor Society, and drum line, he is also taking an online class sponsored by NASA. Matthew will compete in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge Contest this year in Huntsville, Alabama.
Matthew, like his classmates, is required to perform 15 hours of community service per year as a requirement for graduation. As a freshman and sophomore, he organized a school team for the walk sponsored by Autism Speaks, but this year was different. Matthew first learned about ACEing Autism from a commercial he saw on the Tennis Channel. He did some research and found that an active chapter did not exist in Dallas. He enlisted the help of his mother Adrienne, and the two began the legwork to make the program a reality. “While this program isn’t a fix for autism, it’s a more hands-on situation,” says Matthew. “With ACEing Autism, we’ll see the impact that the tennis makes on the kids with autism and on their families.”
While Adrienne is heading up the marketing effort, Matthew recruits volunteers, who are mainly his peers at school, and a good friend recruits participants for the tennis lessons. ACEing Autism’s partners such as Penn Head provide equipment, and the mother-son duo has secured funds though the Metroplex Tennis League in Dallas to offer the class free of charge to 20 kids on the spectrum. In addition, national scholarships are available to those with financial need.
In addition to laying the groundwork for the program, Matthew and Adrienne will be present at both one-hour class sessions each weekend. Beginning this March 18th, the classes are already full, but there is a participant waiting list contingent upon drawing more volunteers. For information on future enrollment or to volunteer, visit aceingautism.org/locations/dallas-tx/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For his sincere desire to spread autism awareness and help those closely affected by autism, his efforts to bring a program that will foster social skills and confidence, for his incredible “take charge” spirit, we award Matthew Bransky our Good Kids Award and a $250 scholarship.
The GOOD KID Award is presented to a student aged 12 to 21 who displays exemplary character, courage and personal values and, who, without asking for attention for their efforts, causes others to take notice. For their genuine commitment to helping a person, organization and/or their community, the winner of the Good Kid Award receives a Certificate of Achievement and a $250 scholarship.