YEAR END APPEAL
Hello, I’m Swetha. I moved to the U.S. from India as a six-year-old with a lot of energy and excitement. 15-LOVE was the first place I didn’t have to worry about fitting in. As a kid who was still getting used to the culture, and language, the coaches made me feel like I belonged. I showed up four times a week with a smile on my face and spent my summer looking forward to tennis every day. I loved the off court sessions where I was able to learn about money management, science, the environment, and hang out with my closest friends, the coaches.
A couple years later, I was invited to be a part of the Excellence program because the coaches loved how excited I was to be on a tennis court. My parents said no, and I was disappointed. However, I kept showing up every summer after and played. 15-LOVE and Coach Domingo invited me again and didn’t give up on me. This time they were able to coordinate and give me rides to practices and figure out a schedule for me.
I got a lot better at tennis. I also became a lot more coordinated and confident. When I tried out for my high school team, I made it onto Troy High School’s varsity and even became captain my senior year. I had the chance to join college prep, learn from coaches who had experience applying, and get mentorship from 15-LOVE Education Director Mrs. Brisport. She took me to visit colleges, helped me edit my college essays the multiple times I asked for support, and invested in my future. I got into Cornell University and was trying to figure out how to make the finances work. The USTA and 15-LOVE helped yet again at another crucial moment, and I was able to get scholarships that supported my tuition.
I majored in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Business. Everyone really focuses on high school, and getting into college as a crucial time, but college was where I had to develop a lot of foundational skills. After getting into college, something I struggled with was stress management. Although I wasn’t playing tennis anymore, I remembered the summer practices where Coach Clinton would have us run two miles in Albany. I used to be miserable during the run, but I would feel great after. I decided to try running in college. I started with 3 miles over winter break, and slowly kept progressing. I ran several half marathons, marathons and was able to manage my emotions, feel a lot better, and develop a routine.
After graduating from college, I have moved several times during the last few years, and now work for SAFT America as a quality engineer in Jacksonville, Florida. I kept running over the years, and recently found a women’s recreation tennis team to join. Something I’m very grateful for as an adult now is how 15-LOVE made the sport of tennis so accessible. As an adult I see the cost of everything, and I’m pretty awe struck when I think of how much coordination, effort, and fundraising went into my lessons, equipment, coaching, practices, matches, tournaments and the many other logistics.
I’m looking forward to investing in 15-LOVE the way it has invested in me. I really hope you will consider supporting this program that has changed the lives of countless kids (like me) by giving them skills they can use in different ways throughout their lives. Thank you for your consideration.