INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - The BNP Paribas Open could not function without its hundreds of volunteers each year. They answer questions, collect tickets, sell programs, work as ball kids and so much more. More than 1200 volunteers make the tournament run, people like Judy Strobl, who helps in the media room. She's been volunteering at the BNP for 13 years. "For me, this is a very exciting event, I look forward to it every year," said Strobl. "I love working with the media and helping them facilitate the process."
Volunteers don't help the media, players and fans, they help the valley. As a 'thank you' for their hard word at Indian Wells, the tournament donates funds to the Champions Volunteer foundation-- a group who then distributes the money to local non-profit organizations. "Because of our efforts, we do good work here in the valley and these charities can benefit," said Strobl.
Many of the charities are geared towards youth, like the National Junior Tennis League run by local director Adam Jasick. "Providing opportunities for youth in the valley to experience tennis and education as well as life skills that we're able to provide" said Jasick.
Last year, 44 charities received checks from the Champions Volunteer Foundation, just in time for the holidays. "They love that event because they all come together, they network, they talk about what they're doing, their improvements, what they're adding on to, if it's housing," said DeeDee Felich, the president of the Champions Volunteer Foundation. "It's a great feeling."
To date, the foundation's served up more than $1.3 million in donations. A small price to pay to continue changing the lives of the youth in valley. "The earlier we make a difference, the more difference they can make and it provides a vehicle for kids to understand a lot of skills that are necessary as they grow up," said Jasick.