I have been a part of First Serve — New Mexico either as a student or as a coach for the past 13 years. I joined the program when I was 12 years old and just starting the 7th grade at Monte del Sol Charter School. My parents actually put me into the program and I was slightly resistant at first, but I am so glad they did. The program has become an important part of my life and tennis has become incredibly important to both me and my family.

While the program did give me a place to go, it did more for me than just become a space for me to go and wait after school. The tutoring was always helpful and the program provided me with specialized tutors and help in whatever areas I needed. It gave me the space and the tools I needed to excel throughout middle and high school. Being involved in tutoring and tennis also allowed me to meet many of my current colleagues and people I consider a part of my family. We became a little family and grew even closer through traveling to tournaments as we all became better and more serious about tennis.

While I never had trouble in school and always maintained decent grades, the tutors went out of their way to ensure they helped us with whatever we needed. Two of the tutors wrote letters of recommendation for my college applications, and the program provided me with whatever materials I needed for the SATs and ACTs. Now I am deeply grateful to have been given the opportunity to work as a tennis coach for the program. I want more than anything to be able to provide these students with the same opportunities and coaching many of us received as students. I am also very pleased to see so many former First Serve students coming back to the program to work over the summer, giving back all of the care, work, and time we were given. Whenever I am around Santa Fe, I will always come back to the program to work and put whatever I can back into First Serve.