Riveroflifelisajoy’s Weblog

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—UPDATE—-MARCH 28 DAY OF CHAMPIONS AT ROY WILKINS PARK! TENNIS BEGINS AGAIN IN THE OUTDOORS!*****TENNIS AT THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF JR. TENNIS AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT– SAVED MY SON’S LIFE AND MINE TOO!

About nine years ago we lost my husband to a catastrophic disease.  I had to start all over again from scratch.  I lost my house,  and credit rating,  my furniture, and my pets too.  I also lost my best friend–my husband. 

Many people in the church told me to start new memories and new dreams because my son depended on me for support.  My child was only 5 when his father was snatched from our lives. 

I found the National Academy of Jr. Tennis and Youth Development—Youth and Tennis, INC.   with the CEO  Bill Briggs in charge,  at the SouthEast Queens Roy Wilkins Park.  I saw my son blossom into Tennis.  I took him when was about 8 or nine years old. 

 He was a bit shy at first but he soon got the hang of it.  The Tennis coaches were the best.  The program runs year round.  In the summer they play in  Roy Wilkins and Liberty Park.  In the Winter they go indoors to the “bubbles.” 

 My son loves it!   He has alot of great kids to play and be associated with.  Every year they have a dinner dance called the Golden Tennis Ball and Award Ceremony that I try to participate in.  It is a fabulous activity!

I volunteer whenever possible.  It is a great program for all children.  Many of the community politicans have assisted have become friends of the program.  They have activities like T-shirt day,  Kids day,  picnics and barbeques!  What a great way to socialize in a controled setting!!!

My personal involvement has been singing two times for Christmas Party events held for the children.  I have also helped one time to conduct a Christmas carol part for the children.  It was great fun.

Loss of a loved one does not have to end  your own life.  Get out and do something!  Even if that means you volunteer at the local Library.  Try the hospitals too.  They love volunteers.  Volunteering does your heart good and takes you mind off the issues that haunt you.  Sometimes those issues can disappear. 

I know that my husband would have wanted me to go on and continue to do good and positive things in life.  I know because he told me.  He said, “No matter what happens to me take good care of my son–I know that you are a good mother.”  

He also told me not to stop singing either!  I have continued singing.  I have found so many positive ways to remember someone who had always been an inspiration to me—by continuing to do the things that he loved most about me!!!

My thoughts on the CEO Bill Briggs of the Youth and Tennis Inc.  is that he is a great,  great mentor of  youth in the entire five boroughs….not just Queens.   I have seen young people that have completed the program stop by to visit and pay their respects to this great man.  He is a mover and a shaker in the community!!!! 

We need to let people know when they do a great job—We need to show our black youth and children of all races,  incons  that support positive attitudes and character building mentalities. 

When my son took sick over the past few years Mr. Briggs took an active role and he asked my son how he was feeling!  I sent my son to summer camp and he felt the  bonding with the other tennis players and the coaches.  My son was able to move on from a negative circumstance of his illness and stay focused on the game of tennis. 

My son’s health is still being monitored, but he has been feeling a bit better.  Mr.  Briggs has several programs that I think are also great. 

 My son had gotten attacked by a gang just before graduation from junior highschool this year-  and he was really out of it for nearly a month.  He did not want to play tennis or even go outside.  I took him to the hospital because he was sleeping entirely too much.  The doctors could not find anything.

I called Mr.  Briggs and told him why he had not seen my son for tennis every Saturday since the summer had begun.  Mr. Briggs told me to have my son come out the next Saturday and contribute to “PROJECT GIVE BACK” in which he would have to donate a few hours of his time to the younger players as a mentor coach.  All he had to do was serve the ball and give pointers on how to improve the younger players game. 

My son was a bit hesitant to go.  But me,  I proded and pushed and he got back out there on the court.  Mr.  Briggs was even kind enough to take my son to the teen court after he was finished helping the younger players in the morning.  Soon after a couple of weekends of “PROJECT GIVE BACK”  my son got back on the courts and was excited to get back and play competitive tennis with his friends!!! 

It is difficult to explain how hard it is to tell your son that Daddy is not coming home again.  It is difficult to explain how cold and cruel life can be sometimes.  It is difficult to know how to hug away the pain of loss and feelings of  abandonment.  But I will tell you this—-I thank God for Bill Briggs and what the Youth and Tennis, INC—The National Academy of Jr. Tennis and Youth Development has done for my son,  and me. 

Thank you Bill Briggs for saving my son’s life and saving my life too.

Website: www.youthandtennis.org

 I will blog more topics on sports and tennis as  the spirit leads. 

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