Winner Wonderland: Nevaeh

This is Coach Benedict's first-year with The ACE Project. We are so proud to have her on our team! She is a special education teacher who also works at both Roosevelt and Lincoln School tennis camps as an ACE coach, spreading her cheer all around Dolton/Riverdale! Here is Coach Benedict’s Winner Wonderland story:

“I did it! I did it! Look Ms. Benedict I did it!” A second grader named Nevaeh was bouncing a tennis ball off her tennis racket. It took several tries and when she got it the screams! Nevaeh is a quiet child so hearing the screams was a wonderful thing to hear.  All the pre-tennis exercises The ACE Project children have to go through seem like such a waste when the child signed up to play tennis. Of course, playing tennis is what it is about. All sports have parts the future experts need to learn before the athlete becomes proficient and a champion.


Now Nevaeh is onto the next exercise. She is standing in the ready position, legs bent, facing the net, two hands on the racket. The ball comes to her. She turns her body and Whack! It is hit over the net. What a smile! What a glowing face. A second grader has found success and something she can do well with The ACE Project. ACE is all about children having success through tennis. It is about children excelling. Tennis is a sport Nevaeh never thought she would have the chance to play. And now! Now she is a star! A star who is successful thanks to The ACE Project giving her the chance.

When the tennis semester was over, I interviewed Nevaeh. This is what she said, “It was fun, and I got to be with my friends.”

So I asked her, “Did you improve and find success from The ACE Project?” All I got was a glowing smile and a thumbs up. That said it all.

Every leader began somewhere, and through The ACE Project, we are providing the safe, affirming environment for our young ACE-ers to develop the skills necessary for long-term success. You can help sustain this warm, empowering atmosphere by donating today! Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $8,000 through December 31st!

Susan Klumpner