Miami Living Magazine

Erick Elias

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Page 177 of 215

How did the Sloane Stephens Foundation come about? Sloane Stephens: I love kids, like going out to courts and helping coaching them. Becoming a professional tennis player has given me so many opportunities in my life, and I always knew I wanted to find a way to give back. Education is really important in my family, so I wanted to make sure that every child who wants to play tennis can learn, and every child knows that they matter and can succeed in school. There are so many disadvantaged youth across America, how did you decide on serving underprivileged communities in Broward and Miami Dade County with the Sloane Stephens Foundation? SS: Because I grew up playing tennis there. There were so many kids that were good players, great athletes but unfortunately, their parents just couldn’t afford for them to play. They didn’t have enough money for racquets, for lessons, to go to clinics or anything like that. Seeing people that I had grown up with playing tennis that either quit or stopped playing tennis because they didn’t have the financial means or couldn’t afford to travel, became a driving force, especially as I got older. I felt like this is so unfair because those kids could have gone to college, got a scholarship or benefited in other ways. I just felt like it was really important to give underserved kids opportunities to play and see their potential all the way through. And that’s something very small in the grand scheme of things that I could do to help give back to my sport. So it’s been super important for me to be able to give those opportunities back. And so far, so good. What would you say your biggest challenge and biggest accomplishment from the foundation has been? SS: My biggest challenge for myself is that I don’t speak Spanish, so that’s terrible! I’m working on that! A lot of our kids are Hispanic or come from a Hispanic background, and I’m always like, “Man...I wish I could yell at them in Spanish, but I don’t!” Virtually everyone in Miami speaks Spanish, so you are in the perfect place to practice!

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