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Running and organizing a donation drive can be tough, but that’s exactly what Milena Pinonzek recently did for her local tennis league. In total, she was able to collect 7 junior rackets and 2 tennis bags to donate to the Kings County Tennis League in Brooklyn, New York, which provides free year round tennis instruction to underprivileged children.


Melina recognizes the core principles that Kings County runs on, which are combining “tennis and education to spark the potential of children living in and around Brooklyn public housing”. The program gives underprivileged children who may not have had the opportunity to play tennis before have a chance, an ideology that is parallel with Second Serve. Therefore, Melina realized that giving to this community would be the most impactful.


Melina described her collection process as the following:


First, she set up a donation box site at Westhampton Beach Tennis and Sports, a local tennis club. She also created a sign that detailed the Second Serve organization and our mission statement. Every two weeks, the box was emptied to organize the tennis racquets, bags, and shoes to upload to an inventory database for organization. She also had to sort out the equipment based on whether or not it could be used again. By the end of the process, she was left with 7 racquets and 2 bags that she recovered to a playable state and could be donated. Finally, she contacted the Second Serve team which established a connection with the Kings County Tennis League and sent the equipment off.


Throughout the process, Melina found many events memorable. She particularly remembers that "my favorite moment was regripping the rackets. Taking off the old grips filled with dirt and grime made me realize all the memories the rackets had lived through. I was grateful that I was able to flip them into a child’s new racket that will be used for years to come”. This sort of mindset is what motivated Melina to donate in the first place and is the type of thinking Second Serve is based off of.


However, there were of course some setbacks. Not every week brought about mountains of equipment, and budgeting time to visit donation boxes and recovering racquets could sometimes be difficult. Probably the most specific setback in Melina’s story was shipping centers were closed due to holiday weekends, which delayed the process.


However, no matter what challenges stood in her way, Melina was always able to find the good in the situation and never let anything get in the way of her goals, and in the end it paid off. That equipment is currently being used by children who may have not been able to afford it before. If you would also like to have a similar experience to Melina, please reach out to us using the contact information below. We hope that as a result of efforts such as Melina, more people will become aware and support Second Serve’s mission to bring tennis to young boys and girls all over the world.

By Chris Chen

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