NJTL 50 for 50: Charlee Goodman
As the USTA Foundation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Junior Tennis & Learning network, USTA.com looks at 50 NJTL leaders and alumni who helped shape this incredible community dedicated to helping youth strive for academic and athletic excellence on the tennis court, in the classroom and in life.
In this installment, we catch up with NJTL alumnus Charlee Goodman, who is using the skills and life lessons she gained in NJTL programming to pursue a career as a dentist.
The Charlee Goodman File
Name: Charlee Goodman
NJTL Chapter: Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation
Role with NJTL: Participant/Alumnus
Year became active in NJTL: 2007
When did you first become involved with NJTL and how long were you involved?
Charlee Goodman: I first got involved in NJTL in the summer of 2007 after moving with my family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was part of the Milwaukee Tennis and Education Foundation chapter until I graduated high school in 2014. After graduating, I coached for two summers with MTEF's summer program.
Did you have any idea about who Arthur Ashe was when you went to your first clinic?
Charlee Goodman: I didn’t know much about Arthur Ashe when I first started besides him being an African-American tennis player. Every year in NJTL, I was able to learn more about his life and all of his accomplishments.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from NJTL?
Charlee Goodman: The biggest lesson I learned at NJTL was perseverance. I learned that whatever I wanted to do in life would take work and there would be obstacles, but that I was always capable of doing it. I wasn’t always the best when I played against my peers and some days were better than others, but that never stopped me from showing up to the next practice to try my best and learn something new.
How has NJTL impacted your life today?
Charlee Goodman: NJTL gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the medical field. I was extremely shy growing up, but the coaches and other players always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. They gave me the safe opportunities to do that. When the time came for going to college and applying to dental schools, I knew I was capable of doing it.
I am currently starting my second year of dental school at Boston University's Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, earning my DMD.
Are you still involved with NJTL?
Charlee Goodman: I am not currently involved besides giving my support to my home chapter, MTEF, from Boston. I do wish to go back to NJTL and hopefully coach again or even provide dental lesson plans to add to the curriculum. At MTEF, we talked about the importance of nutrition and fitness for the health of our body, but not our teeth and mouth. I think everyone could benefit from more education on oral health!