Imagine being 14 years old and writing a heartfelt essay on a subject you are passionate about and nervously submitting it to a contest. Picture your essay being selected among just nine others out of 1,200 total youth submissions from across the country, and then being honored with a special trip to New York City. This was the recent experience for Chicago native and NJTL participant Sanai McBride.
Each year, the USTA Foundation selects 10 winners for their NJTL (National Junior Tennis and Learning) essay contest. In 2022, participants were asked to write an essay in recognition of former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, the first Black mayor of the city whose influence on tennis in the city was unmatched. The essay contestants were asked the following questions: What are your dreams? How can tennis help you achieve those dreams and develop meaningful relationships?
As one of the winners, Sanai was rewarded with a trip to New York City, which included a visit to the Sea, Air and Space Museum as well as a Yankees game and culminated with an excursion to USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center where the winners were honored at an awards luncheon and even got to play tennis on the famous courts. Speaking at the awards luncheon was one of our own USTA Midwest supporters and former USTA President, Katrina Adams. It truly was a trip of a lifetime.
Sanai grew up participating in tennis and educational development opportunities with her local NJTL chapter in Chicago, Illinois called Love to Serve, Inc. Through tennis programs and ACT preparation programs, this NJTL chapter is renowned in the area for helping youth find supportive and safe afterschool environments while improving student academic outcomes and instilling the skills needed to succeed in college and with future careers.
Sanai is a wonderful example of the impact an NJTL chapter can have on today’s youth. She aspires to become a neurosurgeon along with a pastry chef and as indicated in her essay, “Tennis can help me achieve my dreams… because I can develop leadership skills….and teamwork.” Love to Serve, Inc. has not only given Sanai the trip of a lifetime, but also the developmental tools to follow her passions.
Love To Serve, Inc. is one of 28 NJTL chapters the USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation is privileged to support. All of our NJTLs are dedicated to delivering meaningful tennis and education programs to youth like Sanai. Please help us continue to offer even more opportunities to youth like Sanai by donating today.