February 26th, 2018
Boynton Beach’s Belayneh Receives PTR Humanitarian of the Year National Tennis Award
Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) presented its annual awards during the 2018 PTR International Tennis Symposium, where Habtu Afework Belayneh of Boynton Beach, Fla., was named PTR Humanitarian of the Year.
“Not every humanitarian can create a foundation or has one that supports their good work,” said PTR Director of Communications Peggy Edwards. “Not every humanitarian is visible during a disaster, like J.J. Watt. Some live their lives every day as quiet humanitarians. They do their good work without expectations for praise or awards. Arthur Ashe said, ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ Afework does just that.”
The director of tennis at the Tivoli Lakes community in Boynton Beach, Afework has never forgotten his Ethiopian roots, and does what he can to support deserving young people from his country and the U.S. through tennis.
“As the national team coach and technical head coach for the Ethiopian Tennis Federation in 1984-93, Afework was able to start the summer camp for underprivileged children and year-round junior development programs,” Edwards said. “Dozens of kids were introduced to tennis through these programs, but Afework wanted them to have more. He began looking for broader opportunities.”
Six to 12 of his players received scholarships at the Van der Meer Tennis Academy each year, and he has helped players receive college scholarships. His former students are now lawyers, bank vice presidents, and another owns a 16-court tennis facility.
“He was also involved in building a home for the elderly in rural Ethiopia that proudly displays his name on the front door,” Edwards said. “Beyond his home country, Afework serves his adopted country as well. Afework supports Special Olympics with fundraisers at Tivoli Lakes, and he and his wife adopted her Down syndrome niece to provide a better future for her in the United States.”
Afework received $2,500 from PTR Foundation to continue his humanitarian efforts.
For more info go to www.ptrtennis.org.