WTEF Tennis Ball
The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) will host its annual Tennis Ball fund-raising event on Friday, May 9. All proceeds benefit WTEF, our programs, and the children we serve. This year’s all-day event will feature the Tennis Ball and the VIP Round Robin Tennis Tournament. The evening at the Ritz-Carlton consists of live, mini-live and silent auctions, dinner and recognition of honorees.
The recipient of this year’s Champion of Tennis Award is tennis great, James Blake. WTEF is proud to honor Mr. Blake for his professionalism on and off the court, and his dedication to humanity. His life story, in many ways, mirrors many of the successes we have reached with our own children. James won his first ATP tour singles title in Washington, DC at the former Legg Mason Tennis Classic (now, the Citi Open). He will play in the VIP Round Robin on Friday with members of Congress, our sponsors, the media and others.
WTEF is pleased to announce that Congressman Ed Whitfield will be honored with the William H.G. FitzGerald Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made a difference in people’s lives through their tireless dedication to public service. As a longtime supporter and friend of WTEF, Congressman Whitfield has chaired WTEF’s Congressional Charity Tennis Tournament for several years. Mr. Whitfield has served in Congress for 20 years. A native Kentuckian representing the state’s First Congressional District, his major legislative accomplishments include creation of a 170,000 acre national recreation area, introduction and passage of a health compensation program and helping to create the first Medicare prescription drug benefit plan for seniors.
We hope you will support our efforts to expand and enhance our programs at our state-of-the-art facility, east of the Anacostia River in Ward 7. On the day it opened in November 2012, hundreds of people from the surrounding neighborhood and throughout the Washington area gathered to celebrate what would become an anchor of hope and opportunity for the community.
Our East Capitol Campus has allowed us to double the number of children we serve. Our programs begin when the children are just two years old in Tennis Tots, and continue up to and through high school graduation. We teach elementary and middle school children math, reading and tennis through The Arthur Ashe Children’s Program, partnering with more than 20 public schools in underserved neighborhoods. Students who are ready to make a bigger commitment attend our Center for Excellence, a year-round academic and tennis program that begins in the first grade and continues through high school graduation.
We keep boys and girls living in at-risk neighborhoods off the streets during out-of-school time, in a safe environment they can trust. One of those vulnerable girls is Tamika Mitchell, who began playing tennis with WTEF at the young age of four. Hearing fighting outside her window and putting up with gang members taunting her as she walked to school gave her the determination to escape with WTEF. And escape she did by graduating valedictorian in three years from one of Washington’s toughest high schools, and twice winning the city’s high school tennis championship. Tamika went on to attend the University of Arizona on a full academic scholarship and has completed a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition!
For every Tamika, there are 100 young children waiting to walk through our doors. We can only open those doors through your support and sponsorship. Please join us for our largest fundraising event all year on Friday, May 9!