The USTA's ultimate goal in our communities is always to promote and develop the growth of tennis in any way possible, but, when there's an opportunity to just chip in and help out a good cause, we'll try that, too.
The last few years, the USTA Southwest Section has typically had some over-runs on event t-shirts and apparel from our Jr. Team Tennis and League Championship events, so much so that they were beginning to clutter up our store rooms in our offices.
Our typical approach to get rid of this clothing was a fire sale at the next event to help put money back into our leagues and JTT programs, or, by just sending them off to our local areas as giveaways for other events.
Even that got old, as some of the shirts' dates on them were from years back.
Late in 2009, at an Adult Mixed League Section Championship event in Tucson, one of our league players from Phoenix, Jacqui Richardson, suggested another idea for the apparel.
Speaking to our Marketing Director Jeff Sikes at that tournament, Richardson offered up what we thought was ultimately a better use for these shirts, giving them away to children in poor countries who desperately needed clothing.
It was an idea we needed zero convincing of to try.
Since that time, USTA Southwest has been donating our leftover shirts on a yearly basis to Richardson, who along with her co-workers at Insight Enterprises, Inc., have helped us find a better use for this excess apparel by giving it away to a children's orphanage in Mexico City, and, recently to the Huruma Children's Home in Ngong Hill, Kenya (pictured, above).
The orphanage in Mexico allows us to pre-ship supplies through NPH USA, formerly an organization called Friends of the Orphans, which help transforms lives of abandoned and disadvantaged children. This allows us to send larger shipments, which, in the past, has also included tennis equipment from USTA Southwest.
The recent donation to the children's home in Kenya did not allow us to pre-ship the boxes, so Richardson's co-worker Rich Ghali, through Cornerstone Church in Chandler, Ariz., actually took as much apparel as he and his wife could fit into their luggage. That shipment of shirts helped clothe nearly a quarter of the kids at this home in Kenya.
USTA Southwest is proud of our efforts with Richardson and her co-workers at Insight, who always drive to our offices to collect these donation items. We will continue to support these efforts, which help clothe those in need.
Any event t-shirts from tennis events in the Southwest can also be donated to our cause.
If you're a tournament director in the Southwest and have leftover apparel, you can send them to us at our offices in Scottsdale (USTA Southwest - 7010 E. Acoma Drive, Suite 201A, Scottsdale, AZ 85254), or, contact us for a time when USTA Southwest staff members are in your community to schedule a pick-up.
Kids and smaller sizes are preferable.
For more information, contact USTA Southwest Marketing Director Jeff Sikes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480.289.2351 x. 109.