Tennis creates community, character and well-being

Make a difference today

This season I treated myself to a new tennis racquet and it was exhilarating to have it arrive and get strung just the way I wanted. This new racquet gives me a boost of confidence every time I play.

Buying a new racquet is something that many tennis players don’t think twice about, but not all… 

Let me tell you about Andrea. Andrea has been playing tennis since she was three years old. She is in the 6th grade and lives with her parents and younger sister in Washington, D.C. near Howard University, nestled between the U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. 

She works hard on the tennis courts and puts in just as much hard work at school, making straight A’s. She has a sharp, strategic mind which supports her tactically in tennis, and comes in handy while playing chess – another favorite pastime for her. 

Andrea absolutely loves tennis and has so much fun playing the sport.

“Tennis has given me a lot of life skills,” she shared. “I have learned determination, how to handle adversity, the importance of standing up for myself and doing what’s right. Tennis makes me feel brave and like I can do anything!” 

She is motivated to grow her skills by participating in regular training and tournaments, and aspires to play in college or maybe even professionally. 

Thanks to tennis, Andrea gets to spend a lot of quality time with her dad, Andre. Some of their most cherished memories have been traveling to tennis tournaments and sharing experiences (like visiting Philadelphia and having their first real Philly Cheesesteak) that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. Andre is extremely proud of Andrea and her accomplishments on and off the court, and does whatever he can to support her tennis goals. 

It’s not always easy. 

When selecting tournaments for Andrea they are prudent, and try to make the most of what they can afford but, for her to get better she needs to be able to participate in more USTA tournaments, especially national tournaments where she can face a variety of opponents. She also needs the proper tennis equipment that can support her evolving skill level. This can be costly, stressful and until recently not always possible.

“It can be challenging at times to be able to afford to participate in tournaments and have all the right equipment. We do the best that we can and find ways to address the challenges so that Andrea can continue training and developing her skills at a good pace,” Andre shared. “When times get tough we persevere – just like she does out on the tennis court.” 

They found a way to help Andrea persevere and stand up to challenges. Andrea received a Junior Player Scholarship from USTA Mid-Atlantic which has helped pay for entry fees, equipment and more

In fact, Andrea is doing more than just persevere – she is thriving. So far in 2021 she’s won two  girls 12s singles titles at advanced MAS tournaments, defeating players from the region and from other parts of the country. At 12, she is progressing in the Mid-Atlantic and is nationally ranked in the top 200 of her age. She looks forward to, hopefully, traveling to more tournaments in 2021.

When Andre first heard about the scholarship program he felt relief. “I was elated to find out about the scholarship and it was great to see that the program recognizes those that are working hard in tennis, school and within the community. It gave a sense of comfort and that transferred to Andrea too, and helped her with her game.” he added. 

Andrea was elated too, because she was able to get a new tennis racquet and strings. 

“I feel more confident and like I can give my very best with my new racquet. It makes me feel like I am on the same level as some of the other players out there,” Andrea said. And Andre shared that this racquet brought joy to his daughter like he’s never seen in her before. 

All of this was possible thanks to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship which depends on generous donations from people like you. 

Can you make a gift to support players like Andrea?  When you donate to USTA Mid-Atlantic you support the Junior Player Scholarship and other programs that are helping more youth of all backgrounds and abilities have access to lifelong benefits of tennis. With your gift of $100, you can be the one to help a child like Andrea get a new racquet, or participate in tennis class. Your gift contributes more than you may even realize. 

Take it from Andrea, “I want to say thank you to the donors that helped make my scholarship possible. And to those thinking about donating, you should! Your small gift, this simple act for you could be life changing and huge for someone like me!”  

Please consider what you are able and make a tax-deductible gift today for the players like Andrea and future Andreas among us in the Mid-Atlantic.

With Gratitude, 

Jenny Hein

USTA Mid-Atlantic Board of Directors Vice President, Development & USTA League Player 

PS: Consider making your gift a monthly recurring gift, and join The Serve Squad, where each month YOU are able to make an impact and feel good about the difference we are making together through tennis! Look for the option to make a monthly gift on the reply card and online.

%d bloggers like this: