Second Serve: The Power of Community

Aug 5, 2021

What makes my life meaningful is the ability to engage in selfless service and help others rise. That is why I am thrilled to be a part of the Grapevine team this summer! I hope to further an attitude of giving in others, because I have witnessed that giving leads to a virtuous circle of contentment.

Personally, my passion has been in helping other kids, through tennis, fulfill their potential and enhance their lives. In early 2019, I founded Second Serve with my younger sister Ayanna. Second Serve is a fully youth-run nonprofit organization dedicated to giving tennis equipment a second chance to serve underprivileged kids. We collect gently used tennis equipment from those who have and redistribute it to underserved communities around the world to help facilitate children’s involvement in tennis. By turning one person’s clutter into another person’s treasure, we have helped support the children who need it most by creating a passion for the game of tennis, and consequently, opening up their doors to a host of new opportunities.

In order to collect equipment, Second Serve has created and refined a proven method which all of our team members implement within their own communities around the U.S. We have grown our team to include over 75 Second Serve Presidents between the ages of 13 and 18, each of whom are enabling underprivileged children in their area to pursue their tennis dreams. What started with my sister and I collecting equipment to donate within low-income communities of Southern California, has now expanded all over the globe. This in turn has allowed us to positively impact a huge number of children by enabling them to find joy through tennis.

Second Serve has partnered with a multitude of recipient organizations in underserved communities all around the world in order to donate to and empower the neediest children. The recipients of our equipment donations include many National Junior Tennis League sites, inner-city programs, NGOs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Rotary organizations, and adaptive tennis programs in 15 countries including the US, Uganda, India, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Argentina. By sourcing equipment for these organizations, we are in turn fueling greater youth involvement in tennis and granting more kids the opportunity to use sport as a vehicle to change their life.

All together, Second Serve has collected and donated more than 10,000 pieces of equipment, bringing more than 10,000 beautiful smiles to the faces of children across the world. We have fostered an attitude of greater diversity, inclusion, and equal access throughout the communities we serve. Our work has helped give to those, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, a chance to play, to rise, and to succeed. We have leveled the playing field for children across the country. Being gifted a racket, a ball, shoes, and clothes could literally change one’s life because a chance to play tennis could mean spending afternoons on the court, rather than on the streets. A chance to play tennis could mean getting a college scholarship, and therefore a college education. A chance to play tennis could mean losing weight, and therefore preventing future health issues. A chance to play tennis means a chance to break the invisible glass ceiling and soar.

I hope you will consider joining the Second Serve Giving Circle to support our vision to democratize tennis. But I also hope you will consider taking action towards conquering an issue you are passionate about by launching your very own Giving Circle.

Amani Shah

Second Serve Co-Founder and CEO

17 years old