Pursuing their dreams
Gore Foundation to the rescue
Andrew Harris, Sunday Gleaner Writer
The Gore Foundation has given some financially challenged tennis juniors a chance to pursue educational and athletic opportunities through their tennis scholarship fund.
The scholarship fund took 11-year-old Michaela Stephens under their wings as the latest beneficiary of the fund. Stephens, who said she hopes to pursue a career in tennis, was granted that opportunity by the Gore Foundation. She is now attending Liberty Academy and will benefit from the scholarship fund up to university level.
Stephens will be taking part in the upcoming International Tennis Federation's (ITF) 12 and under championships in St Lucia on Saturday, August 23. She has been doing well for a long time and has competed in the Blue Mountain Tennis Championships, among others and has emerged victorious in her age group.
Last year, she took part in a National Commercial Bank and Tryall Club tennis clinic in Hanover which was conducted by the world's number-one female tennis star, Serena Williams.
Her mother, Jacinth Bryant, has expressed her thanks to the fund as this will be a big step in helping Stephens in pursuing her dream as a tennis player.
"Well, she has said that she wants to be a pro and it's going to be expensive, and so I am so grateful for this help that we have got from the Gore Foundation," said Bryant.
"Michaela has been doing well and I am going to support her all the way," she added. The young player is coached by Thomas Plumber.
The sponsorship fund was developed 12 years ago by Christine and Phillip Gore. They currently have six beneficiaries and all are doing well in their schools.
Twenty-year-old Shantal Blackwood, who is currently at Florida A&M University, has been a beneficiary for the past 11 years. She was named the most valuable player on her tennis team this year.
"It has been a tremendous experience and the scholarship fund has offered me the opportunity to continue my education. I am pursuing a career in sports psychology, and without the fund I wouldn't be where I am now," said Blackwood.
Christine Gore, the founder and director of the scholarship fund, shared that the Gores believe that every child should be given the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
"We are just happy that we are able to help these children and they do a lot to keep up their scholarship. We have developed a relationship with these recipients that I hold dear to me," said Gore.
"When you can give someone the opportunity to pursue their dreams, then that's a wonderful gift," she added.