Want To Play Tennis? Go To Second Serve!

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Children players and parents at the launch of SERVE at Washington Park Courts in Escondido, California. Photo: Courtesy: Second Serve Organization.

Second Serve, a California based non-profit organization enabling children and youth to play tennis by providing equipment, training and lessons, is hoping to soon expand to college tennis program under its new Chief Operating Officer Emma Higuchi, a Stanford University graduate and two-time champion of The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Higuchi brings valuable tennis experience to the position in which she collaborates with the founding members of Second Serve, Amani Shah and Ayanna Shah. Higuchi will also mentor small children students and the adult student team members. In her new role, Higuchi hopes to expand the organization’s kids and high school programs to college.

Started in 2020 by Amana Shah who is the National President and Ayanna Shah, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Second Serve began with the idea of giving gently used tennis equipment a “second chance to serve”. All of Second Serve’s team members are under 18 and students. The organization, till date, has redistributed 20,000 rackets, bags, shoes, and clothes to under-resourced communities in the U.S., Africa, Mexico and India. Second Serve currently has programs for young kids and high school students. With branches in low income areas in  Greenwich, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; and Escondido and San Diego, California, Second Serve works to give kids their first chance to play tennis.

One of their successful programs, SERVE Escondido, has won support of local authorities and businesses. The program is administered by the city Parks and Recreation Division. It is also supported by the Escondido Unified School district. Local businesses Mercedes Benz of Escondido and the Ranch Santa Fe Tennis Club have not only funded but have also hosted fundraising events for the program. The program has provided tennis lessons to 48 youngsters for the whole year. Their other programs have similar success.

National President of Second Serve non-profit organization, Amani Shah with well known tennis player Billie Jean King.Photo:Courtesy Second Serve Organization.
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Second Serve’s High School program serves students of low-resourced high schools in California, Colorado and Kansas, with the Orange Glen High School in Escondido and the Desert Hot Springs High School near Palm Springs, having donor supported programs for students. Second Serve’s program has provided equipment, training, opportunity and mentorship. Second Serve also has a motivating internship program for those who want to volunteer in coaching and training. Team member Lauryn Tu, partnered with YMCA of greater Houston to start SERVE Houston summer program for Afghan and Ukrainian refugee children in inner-city Houston and created a safe space through tennis. SERVE San Diego, was started by team member Tony Shen in partnership with program Prime Time as an after school tennis program for inner-city children.

Second Serve has support of well known tennis players Billie Jean King, Madison Keys, and Sloane Stephens. The organization has been recognized by the Women’s Tennis Association, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, and has earned media accolades from the Today show, ESPN TV, Live with Kelly and Ryan program, the Tennis Channel, the Los Angeles Times, and News India Times.

The organization is ready to help needy high schools, and can be reached at www.secondserve.org or @secondserveclub on Instagram.

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