I am proud to be running in the 2015 Boston Marathon for Dream Big!, a charity that provides girls from low-income situations with uniforms, athletic footwear, program fees, training expenses, sports opportunities and the supplies they need to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their overall health, education and overall well-being.
I have been an athlete my entire life, began playing tennis at age 4 and ended up as a professional tennis player by the time I was 18. Tennis is a very expensive sport and my family did not have the means to provide for all of the expensive clothes, racquets, court time and program fees that were a necessity to participate in tennis. From a very young age I was the beneficiary of other peoples’ generosity. I was given free clothes, racquets, shoes and scholarships to weekly and eventually yearly programs and sports academies. Because of all of this generosity, I learned how to be a really good tennis player. But, far more importantly, my involvement in tennis taught me incredible things about myself and gave me a community of people to call my own. Being an athlete taught me to respect myself, to respect my body and to know that my body was powerful and strong. Being physically, mentally and emotionally stretched on a daily basis gave me incredible reserves of both physical and emotional strength and taught me to handle both victory and defeat with grace. Being surrounded by other athletes gave me a community to rely on, it gave me a sense of belonging and it gave me something positive to do every single day. My career as a tennis player ended many years ago but the effects of all of those years dedicated to sports continues to have a profound impact on my life. The challenges that I faced as an athlete have given me the strength to get through the toughest times in my life, both in my career and in my personal life. Being an athlete has given me the most incredible friendships that any girl could ask for.
Unfortunately, poverty can severely limit a young girl’s involvement in sports and physical activities. Every day a girl in need who is not as fortunate as I was to have people donate supplies and coaching time, steps on the playing field, court or track without the proper footwear, equipment, sports attire or training they deserve. Dream Big! is an incredible organization devoted to changing this for as many girls in need as it can. Launched in Massachusetts in 2010, it has already had a direct, positive effect on more than 10,000 girls in need through equipment donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and the Dream Big! Leadership Conferences for middle & high school girls.
I am running in the 2015 Boston Marathon on behalf of Dream Big! to help it continue the amazing work that it is doing by raising money to support this incredible organization and help change the lives of as many girls as possible. The money I raise will help to impact thousands of girls this year. Running in the Boston Marathon has been a lifetime goal for me. I have never run a marathon before but I am going to leave every ounce of my heart out there on the course and I am going to get to the finish line because these girls deserve it. They deserve to know that they matter. They deserve to know that there are people out there who believe that they are important.
My personal fundraising goal is $10,000. That’s a lot of money and that’s why I need you. You are my village. And I want to show these girls that my village cares about them and will come through for them. Please support me in this.
$35 will purchase a regulation soccer ball or basketball;
$50 will purchase a pair a new pair of sneakers or cleats;
$100 pays for an 8 week dance or fitness class for 1 girls;
$200 Pays for a new bike and helmet;
$500 pays for a week long summer sports camp;
$1000 pays for new uniforms, equipment and training for an entire sports team;
$2500 pays for physical education equipment for one full year for hundreds of children in an elementary or middle school;
$10,000 pays for a new community based sports program for 100 female athletes.
If you have a little, give a little and if you have a lot, please give a lot. I am so incredibly thankful for everyone’s donation.
For more information on Dream Big! go to: www.dream-big.org