NEW YORK, NY, USA - Former WTA champion Chanda Rubin was presented with the Shining Star Award by the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program at a charity gala in New York City last month.
British WTA legend Virginia Wade was also in attendance, along with USTA immediate past President and CEO Katrina Adams, who also serves as the executive director of the HJTEP.
"As a longtime supporter of the HJTEP, it was a tremendous honor to receive its Shining Star Award," Rubin said. "And to be among so many incredible and accomplished individuals celebrating my efforts was a humbling experience."
After claiming seven WTA titles and rising as high as World No.6 during her illustrious career, Rubin has spent much of her retirement advocating for youth tennis, in addition to her role as a Tennis Channel analyst.
"I have been fortunate to have support and guidance from some phenomenal people in my life and it has been a true mission to give back to kids what I've been given," Rubin added.
"I look forward to continuing to highlight HJTEP's mission to provide support and opportunities to our youth through tennis and education."
The Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program (HJTEP), which is celebrating its 47-year anniversary, is a not-for-profit organization that provides an opportunity for inner-city boys and girls, ages 7-18, to learn the game of tennis.
The gala, held annually each spring, raises funds to benefit the organization through silent and live auctions. It also seeks to raise awareness for the organization’s mission to “continue the legacy of creating a safe space for youth were they can learn and develop - on and off the courts.”
HJTEP brings tennis to youth from high-risk, low-income neighborhoods and offers opportunities for self-development, emphasizing education and a positive code of behavior.
The program also offers academic support for its athletes, and the organization states that 90 percent of its participants earn a high school diploma, compared to the 67 percent of students citywide and only 25 percent in Central Harlem.
Twenty-five percent of the program's students earn tennis scholarships to leading colleges, while 65 percent also receive non-athletic financial aid.