Another guest of honor was First Lady of New York Michelle Paige Paterson, who talked to TAT about the importantance of kids’ participation in sports, the Governor’s nephew’s participation in the tennis program at the Harlem Armory (which houses HJTEP), and her favorite player. Former New York Mayor David Dinkins, a well-known supporter of tennis and longtime Harlem resident also stopped by, encouraging attendees to support and to play tennis, saying, “If an old man like me can play tennis, so can you!”
But, despite the festive atmosphere, Program Director Dante Brown shared with TAT that donations have fallen greatly since the negative downturn of the economy. He noted that all classes of sponsorships, from corporate to individual to foundation grants, have taken a significant hit. Yet the program, which since its inception in 1972 has grown from roughly a dozen students to several hundred a year, plans to persevere. And the effect it has had on its current and former students goes well beyond tennis. In speeches and interviews given by students and alumni Monday evening, the common theme seemed to be the impact the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program had on them beyond tennis, helping them in academics and in everyday life.
As before, TalkAboutTennis.com is proud to help this cause and we encourage our members, readers, and visitors to donate to the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program during this holiday season or at any other point of the year.
To see more photos from HJTEP’s fundraiser, click HERE.
To learn more about the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, visit their website.
UPDATE: The staff and members of TalkAboutTennis.com raised $655 for the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program.