Meet your 2023 Mid-Atlantic Creates Award Winners
There is no shortage of incredible individuals and organizations doing great things for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region. Each year, USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation honors those who are uplifting, supporting, and going above and beyond for tennis through our Annual Awards program.
The Mid-Atlantic tennis community nominated outstanding individuals and community providers for the Annual Awards and those who exemplify the guiding principles of Community, Character, and Well-being under the “USTA Mid-Atlantic Creates” theme.
Nominations poured in during the three-week nomination period, each sharing inspiring stories of tennis leaders of all ages in the Mid-Atlantic region. The commitment to the sport from individuals, providers, and the facilities in the region has not gone unnoticed, especially during this Centennial year.
After careful review, USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation introduces the 2023 USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation Creates Award winners who continue to make an impact on and off the court.
USTA Mid-Atlantic Creates…
Community Champion Award: Robin Sanford
Robin Sanford is from Williamsburg, Va., and when she is not helping with adult league championships, Robin is giving her time to grow philanthropic outreach efforts through her work on the USTA Mid-Atlantic Development Committee. In addition to her time and effort on the committee, her grassroots efforts have led to growth in the Foundation’s annual peer-to-peer fundraising challenge, Summer Smash, and she helped cultivate a $20,000 grant to support the growth and expansion of the Girls Rule the Court™ program.
On the courts in her community, Robin helped start introductory tennis programs and introduced Girls Rule the Court programming at her local Boys and Girls Club.
Provider Champion Award: Katie Long
Katie Long is from Baltimore, Md. and is the current Program Director at Friends of Patterson Park in Baltimore, Md. She manages all programming for Patterson Park, but as a tennis player and lover of the sport, she holds a special spot for the tennis programs the organization offers on the 10 public tennis courts available at the park. During the pilot launch of Girls Rule the Court and Tennis 101 in Baltimore, Katie played a vital role in connecting coaches for the programs and helping facilitate tennis courts for the programs to take place for free in Baltimore.
Katie’s goal is to ensure tennis is accessible, and for all people to have an opportunity to play in Baltimore by providing free and affordable programming. Thanks to Katie, Friends of Patterson Park and USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation are working together to expand tennis offerings to reach more people in Baltimore.
Youth Leader Award: Jeremy Chung
Jeremy Chung from Potomac, Md. is a true leader on and off the court. As a USTA Mid-Atlantic High School Ambassador, he helped connect more than 200 high schoolers to tennis via social media – sharing the health, social, and emotional benefits of tennis. He also introduces tennis to children at Pass Academy, a local tennis academy aiming to strive for excellence in tennis and in life. Jeremy gives his time to ACEing Autism as a volunteer instructor. His efforts and commitment to the program led him to be recognized as a Human of ACEing Autism in August 2022.
Adult Leader Award: Alice Kau
Alice Kau from Columbia, Md. is a USTA League captain who believes tennis should be a place, “to build community and have fun.” Her peers said, “She reminds her teammates of the joys of tennis and why they play!” She forms diverse groups ranging from skill level, age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Her leadership is shown on court by her supportive demeanor, always cheering on her teammates and providing opportunities for her teammates to grow and improve as a tennis player and person.
Tennis in the Classroom: Victor Cortes
Victor Cortes, from Inwood, WVa., is a coach for the Girls Rule the Court™ program and P.E. teacher at Sugarland Elementary School in Sterling, Va. Victor has paved the way for hundreds, if not thousands, of children to learn tennis with his initiative to incorporate tennis into his P.E. classes and curriculum. Victor has dedicated time to give his students a more in-depth experience with tennis and advocated for a Girls Rule the Court after-school tennis program for his students. With the program in place, he is coaching and helping youth further develop their tennis skills and stay on a pathway with the sport in an accessible and convenient way.
Coach of the Year: Janet Pinkett
As a longtime educator and advocate for youth in her community, Janet Pinkett, from Baltimore, Md., has been instrumental in creating a welcoming space for children of all ages and ability levels to learn tennis. Her commitment to ensure every participant can benefit from the long-lasting physical and social-emotional aspects of the sport has been commendable. As head coach of Girls Rule the Court in Patterson Park, she creates fun activities and social-emotional learning lessons, and helps kids show up for class as their authentic selves, fostering a positive environment for growth and development.
Moreover, her proactive efforts to engage as many children as possible in tennis by printing and hand-delivering flyers to local schools has contributed significantly to the success of GRTC and Tennis 101 programs. By working closely with Friends of Patterson Park and USTA Mid-Atlantic, she ensures a wide range of play options and continues to be a true community leader in promoting accessible and enjoyable sports experiences for all.
Congratulations to all the winners. The 2023 USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation Creates award winners will receive their award and recognition at the Mubadala Citi DC Open on Wednesday, August 2.
This year USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is celebrating 100 years of promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Get involved and show your support for the next 100 years of tennis. Learn about our impact in the region and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.