Winner Wonderland: Emmanuel

Coach Burnett is ACE Chicago’s Director of Programs & Services as well as the administrative assistant at Washington Elementary. She has been with The ACE Project since the beginning! To others, her enthusiasm for tennis is palpable. To us, she is our godmother, a loyal someone who we can always rely on. This is her Winner Wonderland story:

His name is Emmanuel. He is a third-grade student at Washington Elementary School that is in Riverdale, IL. I would like to take this time to talk about this up and coming tennis star. Emmanuel was first introduced to tennis when he was in Kindergarten. He was a very shy, withdrawn and introverted kid. He was timid and seemed to have low self-esteem, kind of like a mouse that doesn’t want to be seen.

I invited him to become a part of the tennis program to try and show him how much fun he could have. I could feel the desire from him to become a part of the group. He was a little unsure in the beginning. I could tell from his expressions that he was uncomfortable. His mom was ecstatic and felt it would be good for him as well. Emmanuel loved the tennis part of the program but had a difficult time with the noise level during the snack time. On some days he did not want to stay. I was determined to keep him in tennis and I never gave up on him.

Emmanuel is now in the third grade. I can see the great transformation that has happened with him. He has recruited a couple of his friends to join tennis, he wants his sister to become a part of the program as well. I do believe that having fun and learning new skills in tennis has made him more open and personable with his classmates and his everyday activities.

Emmanuel is such a lovable kid and displays a love for tennis. He shows good leadership skills with his class and is blossoming into a talented, respectful young man. When I see him walking in the hall, he is always smiling and sure to ask when tennis is starting. He wants to make sure he and his friends are included.

The ACE Project has surely put Riverdale on the map for many. It has opened the door for many possibilities to be explored by all the kids in the community.

You can be part of the transformation. You can be a member of the ACE team. Your donation to our Winner Wonderland campaign will open the door to even more possibilities for our young ACE-ers!

Susan Klumpner