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LET’S PLAY Zeynep Deliormanli, a sophomore at Carnegie Vanguard High School, founded an organization with her sister Defne, who’s in seventh grade at Awty. The goal of Tennis Now is to teach tennis to underprivileged kids.
Roger Federer once said, “When you do something best in life, you don’t really want to give that up – and for me that’s tennis.” Like Federer, I have a love for tennis. I wanted to show others how amazing it is, so I founded an organization, Tennis Now, with the help of my sister, Defne. The goal of Tennis Now is to teach tennis to underprivileged youth and to help them develop leadership and teamwork. We started Tennis Now last summer with five students and have since expanded to 15-20.
Starting an organization was not as easy as we thought. First, we had to make a website with information on lessons, drills, donations and signup. Since we had to pay to book the tennis courts and wanted to provide equipment, we reached out to coaches, clubs and companies to be sponsors. We received generous donations from Westside Tennis Association, Tennis Express and other stores. They donated tennis balls, racquets, snacks and water. The final step was to bring together children, ages 4-9, so we made announcements at schools around Houston, emailed parents and posted on social media.
Before teaching my first lesson, I was worried that I would not be able to teach my students or that they would not have fun, but my suspicions were proven wrong. I had so much fun teaching. Even if my students could not hit the ball over the net, they kept trying. They were interested in the rules of the game and how to hit the ball with the best technique.
I love teaching my students and seeing their improvement. At the end of one session, one of my students said, “Tennis is my favorite sport, and I am going to play tennis for the rest of my life. I love it!”