From a young age, 15-LOVE exposed me to individuals from various cultures and backgrounds. Gaining an understanding of other perspectives has allowed me to develop a rapport with individuals from all walks of life - from casual relationships in my personal life to Fortune 500 CEOs at work.
My most memorable experiences with 15-LOVE involve being surrounded by all the friends I made through the program. Friday night practices were filled with competitive tennis in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. More than 10 years later, attending the Friday practices is still as fun and lively as they were when I was in
In high school my good friend, Kenny Williams, introduced me to the program. I was a participant in the Excellence Program and taught as an instructor for a few years. Since graduating college I have become much more involved. For the past few years I have coached the 15-LOVE U18 Junior Team. I am also a member of the Board’s Investment Committee.
I graduated from the University at Albany in 2009 with a BS in Business Administration/Finance and still live in Albany. I worked for The Ayco Co. and for the past five years I have been employed by the Goldman Sachs Company. Currently I work in Private Wealth Management for high net worth individuals.
I was a pretty late bloomer for the 15-LOVE program; I started when I was 11, but did not become fully immersed in the program until high school. However, I would have to say the one memorable experience that really struck me was the time that I was offered to speak at Fore Love and Money. At that moment, I knew how special 15-LOVE was to me. It was in preparation for that moment when I learned how truly important family was to me, whether at 15-LOVE or my personal family. It was so rewarding and one of the greatest honors to be a part of this program and I strive to make sure that it continues for generations to come. I received a Masters of Science in Accounting from Siena College. I now live in the Boston area and work at PwC as a 3rd year Experienced Associate. Whenever Amber or Domingo calls, I do make my absolute best effort to make time to stay involved with 15-LOVE.
I believe that 15-LOVE has instilled in me a greater appreciation for giving back. More often than not, people look out for themselves, but it is even more important for people to work together to bring out the best in others. When we are able to bring out the best in others, we bring out the best in ourselves.
Marshall Hunter II
15-LOVE helped me discover my love for tennis. I didn’t start playing until I joined the program the summer after I graduated high school. I loved it so much that I started tennis intramurals at the University of Rochester and ran it for four years. I also came back to work with 15-LOVE as an instructor. Currently I am coaching varsity tennis at Greece Arcadia High School in Rochester, the high school where I teach physics.
Actually, I credit my experience with 15-LOVE for inspiring me to become a teacher. I love to teach and that’s why I made this choice. I loved seeing the progress and success of my tennis students—both children and adults. Also, parents would come up to me after a lesson and ask if I was a teacher. When I responded “no,” they said I should be one.
While 15-LOVE obviously helped develop my love of tennis, the program provided me so much more than that through the life lessons learned during the off-courts; the interactions with a diverse and driven group of peers; and the opportunity to provide a valuable service to the community. All of these things have had a positive influence on how I carry myself both personally and professionally and really helped me succeed in both aspects of life. I started the program as a 6th grader and stayed with 15-LOVE throughout my college years, when I advanced to the Excellence group and subsequently was honored to join the staff as an instructor and ultimately site director.
I was always the student who thought that the hardest hit ball was the best ball. It took the forceful will of a few very dedicated instructors and countless suicides for every time I would “swing away” to finally understand all the other different facets of tennis.
I have lived in New York City since graduating from college in 2007. I currently work in the Finance industry for a well known private equity firm, Blackstone. This had been a dream of mine since graduating from college so it was very exciting for me to have it come to fruition. I recently took on an international role within this firm which will give me the opportunity to travel and even live in some very unique and exciting cities over the coming years including London, Dublin, Singapore and Hong Kong.
15-LOVE will always be an important constant in my life. The program taught me the importance of hard work, education, loyalty and family. I was most happy to give back to the program by raising thousands of dollars in 2014 while competing in the New York City marathon. I am a lifer.
One of my best friends, and former doubles partner, Marjana Mair Bidwell, once gave me a pep talk on the court during a particularly difficult match where our opponents were speaking negatively to us and questioning all of our line calls. I didn’t want to continue playing, but Marjana’s words motivated me and stuck with me, even to this day. I truly believe that moment was the reason 15-LOVE was created. The late Arthur Ashe envisioned a program that would use tennis as the medium to provide children with an understanding of the game of life. In that moment, I learned that true friendship is defined as loyalty. I learned that I will face adversities that will test my every being. I learned that my character and reputation is all that I have in this world, and therefore must be maintained even through the most difficult of times. Finally, I learned that I must maintain my tenacity for success in every goal I hope to achieve.
I currently work as an attorney in New York City and will be moving to California in 2016. I am getting married in a few months and excited to share the weekend with friends who have turned into family, including Amber, Marjana and Heba. We all celebrated in Miami recently, and it was as if no time had passed. Thank you 15-LOVE for everything; I will always be grateful.
Vansh (Nanoo) Langer
I joined 15-LOVE at the very young age of six, and it is safe to say that the program shaped and molded me into the man that I am now. Sure, my tennis game developed to the point that I was Varsity Captain in high school, but more importantly I learned how to be a better human being. Most of the virtues and values I gained through 15-LOVE weren’t evident until much later in my adult life. However as I continue to grow and advance in my chosen career I can reflect on when and where I was when I learned these lessons. Virtues such as honesty, respect and community service were all instilled in me through the extensive support system I had including my family and my adoptive family at 15-LOVE. I may have taken these virtues for granted, but I now fully understand and appreciate them.
15-LOVE allows children and teenagers to be in a safe environment with their peers and immediate elders so that they are able to experience life lessons in a risk-free way. Although my tennis skills may no longer be what they were during my peak years, the lessons learned on and off the court were a blessing to me. I continue to adhere to them to this day.
Two memories stand paramount among the countless memories formed during my 14 years at 15-LOVE. Entering into an NJTL tournament as a 14-year-old, I was not considered to be much of a threat to make it past the first round; I ended up making it to the finals. Although I lost, the winner was regionally ranked, and seeing the support from my fellow 15-LOVE members and friends definitely made it possible for me to get that far.
I also remember being at Lincoln Park in Albany when I was nine years old and having another child at the park—not a participant—hit me in the face. Having never truly been in any fights up to that point I didn’t know how to react, and I swelled and teared up.
Domingo Montes, an instructor/participant who would in turn become a close friend immediately came to my aid, handled the situation and made me feel so much better. It was one of those moments in my life when I truly felt that my friends had transcended to my family; it’s one I’ll never forget, and one I’ll always be grateful for.
I graduated from Siena College in 2011 with a BS in Biology and continued on to Ross University of Medicine and Health Sciences and am currently finishing up my degree in Medicine (MD).
I live in Chicago and, although my rather rigorous course schedule does not allow me to be as involved with 15-LOVE as I would like, I do get updates through social media and my sister. I fully intend on contributing when I am done with my schooling.
My six years of involvement in 15-LOVE taught me that people, especially your subordinates or those younger than you, are always paying attention to what you do. So it’s pretty important to always do the right thing. You’d be surprised how much your actions influence others. In other words, I learned how important it is to be a good role model. I am a member of the Aviation branch of the US Army and am currently a UH-60L Blackhawk pilot in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. I love flying, so that’s pretty exciting. I stay up-to-date with 15-LOVE via the website and Facebook, and I also come by the office every time I return home. I also keep in touch with some of the friends I made through the program.
15-LOVE opened my eyes to possibilities beyond what I was living and seeing on a daily basis. Before joining 15-LOVE, I called the neighborhood and streets my home, even though I was regularly attending school and had a home to go at night. 15-LOVE gave me guidance and direction, as well as opportunities to change my attitude towards the future.
My hope was to go to college to eventually play professional sports, but 15-LOVE helped me see the importance of college to prepare for a career. One of the most important things I learned from 15-LOVE that I am currently applying in my life today is working with others no matter what their situation or where they are from.
I am currently living in the Atlanta, GA area. I am not as involved with 15-LOVE today as I would like, but I do try to stay in touch with periodic phone calls or email communications. I graduated from the College of Saint Rose with a BS in Accounting in 2001. I am currently the Accounting Manager for a small software company in the area, where I lead the department, working daily with the executive team. My wife and I are also leading a team of individuals sharing Essentials Oils across the country to help with everyday needs.