Rose Sarner is a rising junior at the Archer School for Girls in Brentwood. She enjoys playing tennis with her family, and biking and walking around her Hancock Park neighborhood.
by Rose Sarner
Over the past year, many people have been trapped in their homes, lost their jobs, happiness, and community. Chloe Steinfield and I decided we wanted to use the pandemic as an opportunity to help underprivileged kids and communities around the world.
As tennis players, we decided to get involved as youth ambassadors with a youth-run non-profit organization, Second Serve, which is dedicated to enhancing the lives of underprivileged kids who love tennis by supporting them with the equipment they need. Second Serve distributes gently used tennis equipment to children in underserved communities with teams of youth ambassadors around the world.
Another tennis charity, Serving Up Hope, provides sustainable tennis programs in underprivileged communities such as Kampala, Uganda, and Santiago, Chile. Second Serve and Serving Up Hope recently connected with a shared goal of bringing tennis to underserve kids around the world. Second Serve ambassadors, like us, collect donations from our local donation sites, such as tennis clubs and community centers, and Serving Up Hope delivers them internationally to their programs. Serving Up Hope was founded by professional tennis player Vania King, who holds 15 total career titles, and is an active member of the Los Angeles Tennis Club.
“I really appreciate how much tennis has given to me and the skills that it’s helped me develop…it has opened up so many doors, resources, and opportunities,” King said. “I recognize that it can really advance somebody’s life…being a player I was able to travel to a lot of different places, see different cultures, different people and realize that, you know, we’re not all as lucky.”
With the help of the Los Angeles Tennis Club, Vania, Serving Up Hope, and Second Serve, we launched a donation site at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. As you walk into the Los Angeles Tennis Club, directly in front of center court there is a large donation bin being filled by members with gently used tennis equipment. Once a large number of donations are collected, King and Laura Shirley, CEO of Serving Up Hope and a member of the Los Angeles Tennis Club, pick them up and hand deliver them to communities in Uganda. King and Shirley are actually now in Uganda, delivering the donations we collected.
“I feel like it’s my responsibility as much as I can to try to give back to other people in need. I know that I won’t be able to help everybody, but hopefully helping a few people will make a difference,” King shared. “I love tennis, being able to bring them the love, the joy, and all the skills that tennis gave me is my main goal.”
For those at home looking to get involved, both Chloe and myself are always eager to collect donations. And even if you do not play tennis, gently used sports gear is helpful, such as clothes, backpacks, sneakers, etc. Other students can always reach out to us if they are interested in creating a chapter at their school, local community centers, or simply want to provide donations.
“We would love to have anyone get involved if they’d like to, let’s share the love of tennis,” King said.
For more information on how you can support this effort, contact Rose Sarner at [email protected].
Below are photos sent to the Buzz from Vania King and Laura Shirley, currently in Uganda.