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Stars Come Out to Help HJTEP Raise Nearly $1 Million in NYC

(L to R) Ahsha Rolle, Shenay Perry, Wendy Hilliard, Patrick McEnroe, Lori Stokes, Alexei Kovalev, Katrina Adams. PHOTO CREDIT: CameraWorks/Fred & Susan Mullane

More than 400 luminaries from the world of tennis and celebrity tennis fans celebrated the impactful work the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program (HJTEP) does helping and inspiring youngsters through tennis and education last night at the HJTEP Annual Gala at the Ziegfield Ballroom in New York City. 

A highlight of the gala was once again the live auction which once again helped the event raise nearly $1 million.  Some of the unique auction included: two US Open tickets with a behind the scenes ESPN tour with Rennae Stubbs; two French Open quarterfinals tickets with round-trip business class transportation; two box seats to the 2024 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA; a hit session with The Bryan Brothers.  Additionally, all auction items winners received a pair of autographed Stan Smith Adidas tennis shoes – a must-have collectible for any tennis fan. 

Among the star-studded line-up of celebrity tennis fans attending the gala were; tennis greats Rennae Stubbs, Patrick McEnroe, Shenay Perry, and Ahsha Rolle; emcee and WCBS-TV news anchor Maurice DuBois; and NY sports personalities Alexei Kovalev, Sara Kustok, Wendy Hilliard, Allan Houston, John Starks and Herb Williams.

In addition to celebrating the success of the nearly 1,000 youngsters who benefit from the HJTEP annually, HJTEP also honored a pair of its most ardent supporters by presenting the Shining Star Award to Rennae Stubbs, a former number one ranked doubles players and 6-time Grand Slam champion; and the James R. Kelly III Chairman’s Award to former HJTEP Chairman of the Board James R. Kelly III, the who retired last year.  Additionally, HJTEP graduates Cristian Ramos and Olivia Kunz gave moving speeches on what HTTEP as done for them.

Katrina Adams, Rennae Stubbs and Patrick McEnroe. PHOTO CREDIT: CameraWorks/Fred & Susan Mullane

“The success of the HJTEP for the past 50-years would not have been possible without the selfless commitment from scores of people like Rennae and Jim who have supported our mission and helped us grow,” said Katrina Adams, HJTEP Executive Director.  “We are looking forward to this opportunity to thank our friends and supporters and introduce them to many of the youngsters that are directly benefitting from our programs.”


The Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program develops champions in tennis, education, and wellness. HJTEP continues to bring tennis to youth from high-risk, low-income inner-city neighborhoods while offering opportunities for self-development, emphasizing education and a positive code of behavior. Tennis teaches kids essential life skills, sportsmanship, self-discipline, social and emotional competence and how to lead healthier lives. HJTEP insists on academic achievement, and the average GPA of participants is 3.1. The not-for-profit organization opens a new door for many inner-city boys and girls, ages 6-18, to learn the game of tennis.  And the numbers speak to its success with a 95% high school graduation rate, 25% earning a tennis scholarship, and a 3.1 GPA, and more than 80% of program graduates attending college. 

Partnering with local schools and community centers, it serves students during the school year and in its summer program.  What they experience on the courts, and in its education programs, develops the whole child—in sports, school, and life. Tennis teaches kids essential life skills, sportsmanship, self-discipline, social and emotional competence and how to fight obesity and lead healthier lives. In their weekly sessions, participants also learn to improve communication skills and raise their fitness levels.  For more information visit www.HJTEP.org