For three seasons, Lafayette Gardens Volunteer Efi da Silva has been a valuable role model to KCTL kids. Today, Efi shares her thoughts on teaching children and her observations of "growth on all fronts" program-wide. Unlike our past #IServeBecause interviewees, Efi did not come to KCTL as a tennis player. Her lack of experience with the sport, though, did not undermine her impact as a volunteer, but enriched it as she learned something new alongside the students.
How and when did you learn about KCTL?
I heard about KCTL through my old roommate. (Hi, Tiffany!) She had volunteered the previous year and convinced me that I didn't need tennis experience to participate.
What inspired you to volunteer?
When I was younger I participated in free programming that helped me gain exposure to areas that I otherwise would not have had an opportunity to partake in. After learning about KCTL and the opportunity it provides to kids in Bed-Stuy, it made sense that I become a volunteer.
What, if any, prior experience did you have with tennis and/or with children?
I had taught kids before, but since I had no tennis background, my first year I learned alongside the kids and guided them as I picked things up.
What can you identify as the most significant positive change(s) to KCTL since you began volunteering?
Since I started volunteering two years ago, the most positive change has been growth on all fronts: the number of kids, the number of volunteers, the number of sites. But then there's also the refined and amplified curriculum. You can see the kids improving in tennis and learning skills on the court that they can take with them to school, home, or wherever they may find themselves.
As we near the end of the season, what's the most important lesson you want the LG students to take away from the program this year?
LG kids are awesome and I see this seed in them already, but I'd like them to remember to not let wins and losses on and off court define or discourage them but instead to keep persistent at whatever goal they're working towards.