The fast-growing airline servicing the Middle East donated refurbished tennis racquets to students on December 19 as an early Christmas gift.
The airline operates the program Racquet Return Program, which collects old tennis racquets at the U.S. Open and other events and then repairs and donates them. This year, all of those who donate a racquet were entered to win two tickets to the 2013 U.S. Open.
This year the airline collected over 900 racquets, of which 100 were given to the students of I.S. 61.
This company teamed up with the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) to find a deserving school. NYJTL offers community youth tennis and education programs throughout the five boroughs, introducing the sport of tennis to 75,000 kids between the ages of six and 18 years old.
According to a spokesperson for NYJTL, I.S. 61 is host to a NYJTL after-school tennis program, and that the school's proximity to the numerous courts in nearby Flushing Meadows-Corona Park were factors in the school's selection
“This is the perfect gift for our kids who have come to love the game,” said Ron Nano NYTJL senior director of Operations.
The new racquets were presented to the students after they played with their old racquets for over 45 minutes. Students were then told to stop, and representatives from Emirates Airline presented them with the new racquets.
“The Emirates Airline Racquet Return Program is just one part of our longstanding commitment to tennis,” said Joel Goldowsky, sales manager for Emirates. “We are hoping to share our passion for tennis with children in communities such as Queens. We are also helping the budding tennis stars of the future to develop skills by providing equipment which has been generously donated by tennis fans from across the U.S.”
Gennady Schurniov, coach of the tennis program at P.S. 61, said that the students were in need of new racquets. He said at the end of each year the racquets are badly in need of repairs.
One student that used the donated racquets on Wednesday said that the new equipment was “super cool,” and he “loved the grip.” When asked how he felt about the donation, the student smiled and said, “thank you, Emirates.”