LAURYN TU SPREADING THE JOY OF TENNIS
Summer for a lot of teenagers is a time of pool parties, movie nights, and family vacations. It’s a time for relaxing. So it's easy to just stay home and watch TV. But not for Lauryn Tu. Instead of taking it easy, Lauryn went above and beyond to give refugee kids in the Houston area a productive and fun summer—through tennis.
Every summer, Second Serve offers team members grants up to $1500 to set up a tennis program in their area. Lauryn used her grant from Second Serve to create a program that teaches tennis to kids who might not otherwise be able to play.
Lauryn has had a true passion for tennis since she was eight years old. “I can’t remember a time I wasn’t playing or thinking about tennis,” she says. This love of tennis has led her to play at the top of youth tennis in numerous USTA tournaments. But beyond tennis, Lauryn also has a love of people.
Last year, as part of a program run by Houston Welcomes Refugees, Lauryn welcomed a family of seven Afghan refugees who were fleeing the Taliban. Her role was to work with the kids and help them adjust to their new country. Though they didn’t speak the same language, Lauryn and the kids were able to communicate using hand gestures and facial expressions.
Given Lauryn’s passion for tennis, it’s no surprise that soon after getting to know the kids, she decided to teach them tennis. The kids loved the experience, which turned out to be life-changing for them and for Lauryn too.
This experience showed Lauryn how much she loved teaching, so at her high school— Awty International School—she created a club called Aid for Refugees. This club currently has a total of 32 members. This past summer, Aid for Refugees partnered with a local YMCA in Houston to create a program that taught tennis to more than 20 refugee children, giving them a fun activity to look forward to twice a week during July.
All of the kids loved the experience. As one enthusiastic six-year-old said, “I love tennis and coach Lauryn!”
Lauryn’s story exemplifies Second Serve’s mission. Everyone at Second Serve has not just a love of tennis, but a love for people, and that's how Second Serve continues to make a global impact.
By Diego Núñez