Canyon Crest student continues tennis initiative for low-income, refugee students

Shaurya said he wants to bring tennis to more children who would otherwise struggle to afford lessons.
(Bhawna Bairaria)

Through a “Tennis Without Borders” initiative, a Canyon Crest Academy student has helped teach tennis to low-income and refugee students in San Diego.

“I like that I’m able to give kids the opportunity to play without having to bear the burden of the cost because I actually enjoy tennis and I think everyone should have a chance who wants to play, to play,” said Shaurya Bairaria, 16, a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy. “I think my goal is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to play tennis.”

Shaurya began coaching refugee children, from countries including Kenya and elsewhere throughout Africa, and low-income children for free last year. He also partnered with the Internal Refugee Committee to hold a tennis camp in El Cajon. At Walker Elementary, a Title 1 school that supports low-income students, he holds a weekly free tennis program after school.

Shaurya began playing soccer when he was younger, but one day some friends invited him to play tennis. He took to it quickly. His goal is to play Division 1 tennis in college.

“I really liked it,” Shaurya said. “I kept playing more and more and I progressively got better and better at it. From there, I kept playing and I got better and better at it than I was at soccer.”

He also has a separate business that pairs high school athletes with children who are new to their sport. Shaurya and other high school students offer coaching in multiple sports, including tennis, water polo, swimming and soccer. The business is meant to be a more affordable option compared to the more expensive coaching that professionals typically offer. It also gives high school athletes a more flexible option to a more typical part-time job.

“We charge a very low rate compared to the average tennis lesson, or sports lesson,” Shaurya said. “We try and get kids from all sports. We have coaches from all sports.”

Shaurya said he’s looking for volunteers. For more information, visit