I was born and raised in the second most dangerous city in America, Detroit, Michigan. When you are from a city full of crime and poverty, hardships become endless. As a child growing up in these conditions your options are limited. You grow up to either engage in crime, spend your life in jail, continue the low income life you were born into, lose your life as a victim of crime, become a victim to crime by losing your life, or pursue other paths. Sometimes in places like Detroit, the other paths are what changes your life in many good ways that you don’t realize until you're older. My other path that changed my life tremendously was joining a program that taught me the sport of Squash.
Not only did this program teach me squash, it prepared me and taught me numerous life lessons that I wouldn’t have gotten running around in the streets. My squash program taught me the importance of email, helped me improve my grades, helped me pursue a college education, allowed me to explore life outside of Detroit, and provided support in almost any aspect one can ask for. This program is the reason I am here today completing the tanner fellowship and just like my program, there are many more in almost every state in the U.S.. Each one of these programs teaches squash, provides mentoring, and educational support from middle school to post graduate. Over the years many youth in these low income areas around the U.S. have joined these programs, traveled to compete in squash tournaments, and eventually go on to college.
But the journey doesn’t end there, these programs have brought diversity to squash and a new sense of hope to many kids' lives over the years, and will continue too. With the Tanner Fellowship, I was able to bring a new sense of hope to many of these kids' lives as well this past summer. As a Tanner Fellow I had the chance to visit different squash programs in the Mid-west and West coast to coach and motivate many kids who are in shoes I was once in. Many kids from these programs are thinking about going to college, and hope to make it on a college squash team, and on the other hand some are starting to fall off from the programs. Some of these kids are undocumented, come from a single parent home, or have some form of a difficult life, but deep down they are the most amazing kids you could ever meet. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to share information about my experience and journey through this squash program to these different program kids. It was very beneficial for them to hear it from someone who looks like them, been in their shoes, and someone who is walking on the path they hope to walk one day. I was able to let them know that there are many more doors to be opened, and made sure they realize
that their upbringings do not determine their life forever…