Seven years ago I was introduced to Kelly Gunterman who is the President of Tennis Without Borders while I was working in Maine at the Maine Pines Racket Club. I began volunteering for Tennis Without Borders immediately by collecting tennis equipment, refurbishing rackets with new grips and string as well as gathering clothing and educational tools. Our mission is to provide students in developing nations with the academic and athletic support to pursue various life opportunities both on and the court. Through serving the greater global tennis community we hope to enhance a child's chances to rise out of systematic poverty. We have had the opportunity to do this firsthand by traveling to Africa multiple times in 2012, 2014-2018. We were able to teach tennis and bring necessary tools for academics and tennis to children in Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon.
In 2014, I was introduced to Joseph Oyebog from Cameroon while he was in Connecticut. As a former professional tennis player and current teaching pro, I was asked to offer my teaching skills in Africa to help their teaching pros there as well as to teach the children and design lesson plans for their tennis development. Since then, I have traveled to Africa four times to work firsthand with the Oyebog Tennis Academy (www.otatennis.org). While I am there I am able to utilize donated funds and support the programs and local community. Your support has meant that children have new shoes on their feet, school supplies and school fees paid for and rackets in their hands. We have also had the opportunity to provide meals for families while we were there. These children have the opportunity to rise above their life of severe poverty through tennis and education.
Locally, in Maine and across New England, I have been collecting tennis shoes, clothes and rackets for the children I work with in Cameroon. Many of the students I teach in New England have been heavily involved in the collections, refurbishing of equipment as well as learning the importance of giving back. Thanks to your support we are able to provide tennis equipment (new jr tennis rackets and grips and string) to various tennis programs in Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut this past year. In April of this year we colIaborated with the Sportsmen's Enrichment Center in Dorchester, Mass and brought a new laptop, hundreds of grips, shoes and rackets. I am also fortunate to then be able to bring over additional donated shoes and rackets and give them directly to the kids in Cameroon by utilizing funds to support excess baggage fees, trip expenses and other educational tools.
Last year, we were able to purchase and donate eight laptops, three phones, three tablets, and additional educational equipment to enhance the childrens' learning opportunities thanks to your support.
This year, we hope to further our commitment to Cameroon by continuing to bring over educational tools for these bright and dedicated kids. Your donation would go directly to helping with school fees and supplies, medical expenses, as well as travel expenses to help bring over donated equipment.
We are also currently expanding our mission throughout New England and to South America (www.fundaciondetenisraulordonez.com). This February, I will be going to Colombia to teach tennis to the kids the Raul Ordonez tennis Foundation. We plan to utilize donated funds to purchase new jr rackets, tennis training equipment and some laptops. We will also bring over some new clothing for the children to both wear and use to sustain their program. We are excited at the prospect of expanding our work and look forward to sharing it with you. Thank you for your support!
- Joan Hazelton
- Courtney Pastrick
- Phoebe & Spencer Burke
- Jim Scott