Dave is a PTR professional level tennis coach and brings years of experience playing and coaching to KCTL. As a junior he held a national ranking in the UK and represented his country. After school he played full-time for one year before accepting a scholarship to play College tennis in the US. Following graduation, Dave transitioned into coaching and has since taught and ran tennis programs in the UK, Long Island and Brooklyn. Passionate about teaching and working with children, he is excited to have found KCTL and is looking forward to having a positive impact on the program.
Vanessa Bornholdt, Director of Development
Vanessa grew up in Northern Virginia within a family of tennis players. Her parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all played tennis together on their neighborhood courts and Vanessa went on to play high school varsity tennis for a couple of years. She attended Penn State University for her undergraduate studies and later Columbia University where she got her Masters in Nonprofit Management.
Vanessa has worked in the non-profit sector as a Teach for America Teacher and later as a Director of Marketing and Development for Project ALS. She has also worked in the for-profit sector as a Human Resources Consultant for Gartner where she was actively involved in numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Vanessa is excited to leverage her fundraising experience and love for tennis to help KCTL grow.
Mara Mazza, Communications Director
Mara graduated from Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication and began her career working at the top global PR firms on US and international pharmaceutical launch campaigns. She left the for-profit sector in 2002 to join the External Affairs Department of the Hospital for Special Surgery, where she led a number of development, communications and government relations initiatives. Prior to joining KCTL, Mara worked at USTA Eastern, the New York section USTA office as public relations manager. It was there that she was assigned to write a feature article about KCTL and was instantly intrigued by its history and clever approach to taking sports-based youth development into public housing. Mara, her husband Ben and 12-year-old son Alex are avid tennis players, while teenage daughter Sydney plays varsity soccer, and tennis when needed for family doubles fun.
Rob Gerstman, Program Manager
Rob grew up in the suburbs of New York where he enjoyed spending his time playing sports with friends and on competitive teams. Rob graduated from the University of Michigan. Go Blue! Thereafter, he spent 10 years working in the field of Human Resources at a non-profit agency, where he met his wife. Rob then chose to spend his time raising his son and coaching sports in the NYC public school system. Currently, he teaches tennis and table tennis at well-established middle school and high school programs. Joining the KCTL family is an exciting opportunity for Rob and he already feels very welcome. Rob looks forward to learning from everyone involved and working together to continue to grow the tennis communities we "serve."
Tyler Miller, Marketing Associate
Shonda Bacchus, Sumner Educational Coordinator
Shonda was born in East New York, Brooklyn. She is a recent college graduate and currently a preschool teacher in Bed-Stuy. She has faithfully played tennis for over twenty years, which is the reason she became a Site Leader with Kings County Tennis League. She believes that all children should be given the chance to learn a practical skill. In doing so, that skill will open up several doors to unlimited professional opportunities.
Justin Becker, Site Leader/Educational Coordinator (floater), BCHS and BKS Instructor
My name is Justin Daniel Becker and I'm from Los Angeles California. I began playing tennis when I was 3 years old. Tennis has always offered me a community where I can continue to challenge myself and grow. I was a varsity athlete in high school, playing singles and doubles. On the years I was on the team we usually finished in 2nd or 3rd behind the other schools in our league. After my competitive years, I spent many summers teaching tennis on Martha's Vineyard to youth at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club. Through that experience I was able to see the powerful impressions that the sport was making on the children's lives in a positive way.
After high school, I attended Sarah Lawrence College. I am a massage therapist, a private chef and have worked for many peace, environmental and social justice organizations as an activist. I am honored to be teaching tennis again and feel privileged to be able to share what I have learned with a new community.
Tina Adjei-Bosompem, Tompkins Site Leader
Tina was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. She graduated from SUNY Albany and SUNY Downsate is currently a research assistant and statistical consultant. She started playing tennis at six years old and continued into high school. Programs like KCTL in her neighborhood growing up fostered her love for the sport and moved her to help provide other children with the same uplifting experience. Tina believes that KCTL fosters a family atmosphere and the investment into the students go beyond the tennis court. This season, she hopes to see her returning students hone their skills and for her new students to grow a love for the sport.
Marc Bushelle, Staff Photographer
Marc Bushelle was born in Barbados. Being the son of a US State Department father his home quickly became different places around the world that included the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. This unique childhood has shaped his imagination, love of art and photography, and has enhanced his able to connect with a wide range of people.
Soon after college he started working as an assistant art director on many high end music videos. Working with artist like LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Big Pun and Eve to help them deliver their visual message. After working in the film industry both in production and post production, Bushelle transitioned into becoming a full time professional photographer. He has worked at many notable Portrait Studios where he has gained national recognition. He continues to operate his private studio in Brooklyn NY which allows him to explore complex ideas while shooting everything from fashion and beauty to business and portraits. His work has been exhibited in galleries and venues in Texas, Philadelphia and New York City.
Erika Catarine - Ingersoll Site Leader
My name is Erika Catarine. I was born and raised in N.Y. I am currently getting my Masters in English Secondary Education. My passion for teaching children to grow in character through tennis, sports and English come from those that have taught me. In my life the values that I have been taught such as self-perseverance, being a team player, and being a leader amongst other values over the years has shaped me in to becoming the person I am today. In joining KCTL as a site leader I can give back what I have learned growing up to children whose lives have only just begun and, in the process, watch them grow and learn in to the person they know they can be.
Tawhid Choudhury, Educational coordinator (Marcy) and Upswing Instructor
My name is Tawhid Choudhury. I been playing tennis since I was about 4 years old. I travelled the states to play national tournaments and even international ITF tournaments. I currently play for the #2 nationally ranked juco tennis team called Asa Miami.
Kim Diehl: Sumner Site Leader, Pratt WP Site Leader and Upswing Instructor
Kim is a native Floridian who moved to Brooklyn in 2015. She is a former college tennis player and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a communications strategist for a non-profit that advocates for working people called the National Employment Law Project. Kim loves tennis and is always looking for opportunities to pass along coaching and skills that were passed on to her over the many years she has spent teaching and playing on the tennis court. She believes tennis and sports are excellent vehicles for building community, self-confidence and friendships.
Mohammad El-Haj Ahmad - Upswing Site Leader
Mohammad grew up playing and competing in tennis as a junior in the Middle East. After many years off the sport, he rediscovered his love for tennis in Brooklyn. Mohammad is very passionate about working with children, and KCTL has provided him with many opportunities and experiences to work with and learn from amazing children and knowledgeable fellow volunteers and staff. Mohammad hopes to continue growing his involvement with KCTL and other programs that foster youth development.
Meg Fischer, Sumner Site Leader
Meg loves playing, watching, and coaching tennis. She grew up playing tennis in Delaware. She developed a love of the game and continued to play competitively through high school. She was State Champion in doubles in 2007. Through college, she continued to play, but transitioned to coaching at summer camps, as a student teacher, and then as the Varsity Coach in Maryland. Since moving to New York, Meg has continued to work as a Teacher and Personalized Learning Specialist and is excited to be part of the KCTL team!
Dario Flores, Sumner Site Leader
Hi! My name is Dario Flores and I’m from Manhattan, New York City. I moved to New York City when I was 6 years old from London, England and I’ve been playing tennis ever since. Right now I’m a rising senior at Skidmore College where I play for the Men’s Soccer Team but I haven’t forgotten my roots as a tennis player. I’m super excited to be a part of such an amazing organization and can’t wait to meet you all on the court!
Ari Fulton, Lafayette Gardens Educational Coordinator
Ari Fulton is a New York based costume designer. Born and raised in Chicago, Ari came to NYC to attend graduate school at NYU. Ari is happy to be joining KCTL for the second year as Educational Coordinator for Lafayette Gardens. Though Ari is new to tennis, she enjoys helping the students with drills and keeping up player morale.
Michelle Gbelama, Education
Michelle Gbelama is a tennis player from Trenton New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Drew University in Economics (2010) and a Masters in Arts and Letters (2013).
Before and during college, she worked for the National Junior Tennis and Learning of Trenton coaching tennis to underprivileged children aged five to 18. While in graduate school at Drew, she was a volunteer assistant coach under Jeff Brandes. After graduate school, she landed a position as program director for National Junior Tennis and Learning of Trenton. For the past four years, Gbelama has served on the USTA, New Jersey District Board, as Vice President of Community Development.
She recently transferred to New York and serves as a program director at the New York Junior Tennis and Learning @I.S61, a non-profit tennis organization associated with the United States Tennis Association.
Branden Jones - Education Coordinator, Jackie Robinson
My name is Branden Jones. I am a 25 year old college student striving to become a teacher. My passions include playing sports, meeting new people, and educating the youth. My welcoming personality and always encouraging attitude has helped me become a Teachers assistant and now an education coordinator for KCTL.
Adam Joyce, BKS instructor, Upswing instructor, and Fall Program site leader
Like many kids at KCTL, Adam began playing tennis by smacking a ball against a wall for hours at a time. After many years being taught by people with a passion for the game, he eventually became a highly ranked junior player. But it wasn't until working with KCTL, its staff and volunteers, and the most important component - our children - that he discovered his love for tennis. Adam volunteers at Lafayette Gardens, helps coach Upswing and the after-school program, and continues to teach pee-wees at BKS in Tompkins and Sumner Houses, a program for pre-K students that KCTL has pioneered.
Brandon Otero, Staff Racquet Stringer
I began playing tennis as a student at Marcy at the age of 10 and now serve as a volunteer. I’m happy to get the opportunity to fix the object that created the sport we know as tennis as well as to start stringing with the people I love most (KCTL)! Tennis has tought me a significant amount of lessons on and off the court such as being passionate and communicative. I wish not only to expand in my new tennis stringing business, but to also learn from my customers and bring them a confidence in their game with every string of the racquet.
Asterlyn Pierratos, Educational Coordinator, Ingersoll and GoGirlGo! instructor
Asterlyn Pierratos is a hands-on educator currently residing in Queens. New York. Being the city that never sleeps is relatable to her on many levels as her mind never ceases to create new and extensive ideas for the world around her. Her adaptability is as strong as her flexibility; this is shown through her willingness and ability to take on any challenges thrown her way. She is currently attending GCU where she is majoring in Psychology and is hoping to make a lasting impact on children’s lives through her work and actions. She has worked as a Leadership Activity Specialist for NYJTL for 7+ years and having recently joined Kings County Tennis League, she hopes to continue to provide children with a voice of their own and empower them to become the best version of themselves on and off the court.
Vishnu Prasad, Upswing Instructor
Vishnu is a PTR professional level tennis coach and a Filmmaker from Connecticut. Vishnu began coaching tennis during his sophomore year in high school. He played competitive tennis in high school and college and graduated with his Bachelors in Business Management. He has taught in various tennis clubs in Connecticut and Westchester county. As a self taught tennis player, Vishnu loves sharing his tennis knowledge to up and coming young tennis players and is excited to be part of the KCTL family.
Lauren Reid, Site Leader - Ingersoll
Lauren grew up in Dallas, Texas playing competitive tennis since the age of six. By the age of eighteen, she had reached a ranking of Top 10 in the state and then went on to play four years of Division 1 tennis at Wofford College in South Carolina. Now living in Brooklyn with her fiancée and her Siamese cat Lottie, Lauren has had two years of experience coaching tennis at public parks across Brooklyn through the City Parks Foundation. She is incredibly excited to share her tennis knowledge as a site leader at KCTL and to help kids grow both as tennis players and as individuals.
Efi da Silva, Lafayette Gardens Site Leader
Efi has been a part of Kings County Tennis League since 2013. She joined having no tennis experience by the encouragement of a friend. Witnessing and aiding in the emotional and skill-based growth of the kids who participated in our program led Efi to continue since then. Being part of a team with adept, energetic, and compassionate volunteers has made it all the more edifying. By day, Efi works as a graphic designer and, whenever she has time, she writes and makes films.
Monika Zaboklicki, Marcy Site Leader
Monika grew up in Brooklyn and is currently a Hunter College student studying to be a nurse. She's been on Brooklyn Tech's tennis team and is now on Hunter’s division three team. Tennis is one of her longest-running passions, and she's excited to share it on the KCTL team. Some fun facts about her are: her favorite food is chocolate chip waffles, she has a two-handed forehand, and her favorite tennis player is Marion Bartoli.