A Note from President Kenny Holdsman
At this very moment, we are standing on Stadium Court of our Center with hundreds of young people, staff and coaches, alumni, board members, parents, and community elders. We are announcing that our new organizational name is Legacy Youth Tennis and Education. This name is designed to capture the essence of our past, present, and future.
Over the past 60 years, there have been many individuals who have built and shaped our organization whether on neighborhood playgrounds and schools, in the board room, or here at the Center. These individuals include the great Arthur Ashe, whose name will appear in the form of a tagline beneath our new name of Legacy. In addition to Arthur Ashe, our new name honors the many other local heroes on whose shoulders we stand. Many of these people and families have been deeply connected to our organization for multiple generations over many decades. Here is a brief snapshot of just a few people who constitute a part of the rich, multi-generational narrative which is our legacy.
- The Green Family
Frank Green and Tina Sloan-Green are life-long athletes and tennis players. Tina is the long-time director of the Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF), located in Philadelphia. Both of their children, Traci and Frankie, Jr. got their start with our organization. Traci served as the head women’s coach at Temple University and now occupies the same position at Harvard University as the first African-American female coach in the Ivy League. Traci has twice hosted groups of our female Future Stars players for a day at Harvard to learn about the student-athlete experience and gain knowledge of what it takes to become a strong player, student, and person. And, we have just launched a significant neighborhood-based program in Mantua with Drexel and BWSF in partnership with Traci and Frankie’s dynamic mother Tina.
- The Fernberger Family
Jim Fernberger was raised in a tennis loving family which cares deeply about the community and opportunities for those without abundant resources. About 35 years ago, Jim became a summer instructor with our organization in the NJTL program, serving for many summers on many different playgrounds. Today, Jim is the Vice Chair of our Board who is intimately involved with ensuring the future stability of our organization. Jim’s parents Marilyn and Edward, both of whom are recently deceased, also left an indelible imprint on this organization. They created the US Pro Indoor Tournament which for years was the primary funding source for this organization’s summer NJTL program. Marilyn also served actively on the boards of the Philadelphia Tennis Patrons Association and the Philadelphia National Junior Tennis League, both of which are our predecessor organizations.
- The Jenkins Family
Duwaine Jenkins is a long-time NJTL Regional Supervisor and the coordinator of middle and high school tennis for the School District of Philadelphia. Like Duwaine, his daughter Courtney has grown up in our organization and is now a Junior Instructor in the NJTL program and a winner of the Stern Cup. Duwaine’s mother and Courtney’s grandmother is also an avid tennis player and youth worker who teaches in our summer NJTL program. Three generations of Jenkins are working together to give back to their community through our organization.
In addition to the many great families who have played here over the years, we are lucky to have a number of coaches and staff people who grew up in the program and chose to come back and work at the Center as adults. They have been connected to the organization for most of their lives and have chosen to give today’s youth the same experience they had growing up. These individuals include and are not limited to Greg Williams, Lance Lee, Jon Glover, John McGinty, Terrance Scott, Kareem Bryant, Tauheed Browning, Kein Wilson, Lavell Sutton, Hashaan Freeman and Kristen Harris.
The name Legacy also captures the present and future of our organization. We are actively working to empower young people to create their own positive legacies within our own organization as well as within other communities that these young people are or will become a part of in the future.
One example of young people emerging as active citizens is our Goodstein Junior Leaders (GJL) program. These teenagers have become involved in community service, advocacy, organizational decision-making, fundraising, and program creation. Their efforts are being felt both locally and overseas. After the disastrous earthquake in Haiti in 2010, our GJLs began fundraising for the relief efforts in Haiti. After months of research, emails, and calls, the GJLs decided to raise funds for the New Life Children’s Home in Haiti, one of the few orphanages caring for children with severe medical needs. Together, they have raised awareness, funds, and supplies for the children at New Life. We look forward to a small delegation of our young people visiting Haiti this fall to present a check and supplies, and to conduct tennis clinics for the orphanage’s children.
In their more immediate surroundings, the GJL’s have taken it upon themselves to better the Center by updating the computer lab. GJLs, together with computer experts, analyzed, fundraised, and are in the process of enhancing the computer lab at the Center to be a “smart-room” such as you would find at universities. This room will be accessible to all Legacy young people for years to come and will greatly improve our ability to support children more holistically.
Over the coming year, we will be creating a number of opportunities to educate our community and the public about the many individuals who have contributed to empowering young people and building our organization’s enduring legacy. I invite you to participate in these and many other exciting activities of Legacy Youth Tennis and Education.