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Above the Net Front and Center at the 2022 Atlanta Open!

Thanks to Above the Net, we had a truly unforgettable experience today at the Atlanta Open. (This tournament is an ATP Tour 250 Series and part of the US Open Series.)

Talk about incredible!!!!

From Stem Learning to on the court experience sponsored by the UPS "Be Unstoppable" program, there was plenty of fun and learning on-site today!

Upon entry each attendee received goodie bags containing waterbottles, t-shirts, and a pair of sunglasses, along with a cool fiber towels to beat the heat.

Early morning activities began with warm up exercises, calisthenics drills, and even a little fun on the tennis court with instructional advice from a few tennis pros.

As the second year in which the Atlanta Open hosts STEM diversity, our kids participated in a "Learning Power" program courtesy of Georgia Power. It consisted of had a wonderful STEM based, customized bead station where they created their own tennis themes bracelets and necklaces that are ultraviolet sensitive. Emily Matthews, coordinator of Georgia Power’s Power Education program stated that the beads actually change color with the ultraviolet rays from the sun and there was plenty of sunlight to prove it today.

Speaking of rays of sunlight, none other than 4 time All American, WTO pro, Jewel Peterson of Peterson Tennis Management was the luminous guest speaker, reassuring our future tennis greats to stick with it even on the hardest of days. She reminded them that being human is okay on the court and explained with emphasis that emotions run high when you're passionate about what you do; as long as you're able to regain your focus to playing the game, then expressing yourself is just fine.

After hearing such great words of encouragement, the kids set out onto the court to serve as the 1st line of support for men's tennis pros Soon-woo Kwon and Tommy Paul as they set forth onto the court to compete in the Men's 16th round singles first match of the day, cheering them on as they emerged from the tunnel and even catching a few high fives from the pros in the process.

We had lunch together as a group afterward, watched the men's singles matches, and even received a few autographs from a few of today's winners.

I can only describe today as a one of a kind experience that I'm sure none of the kids will ever forget.

Infinite thanks to Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez, Desmond McLennon, author of the Peach Review, The Jewel Peterson, The UPS Unstoppable Stem Diversity Programhost, Ayana Green, UPS Vice President of Marketing and Tennis Pro, and none other than our very own Brenda Gant and Monica Johnson for such an amazing experience!

Erika Dilworth

Contributing Editor

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