Overcoming Adversity, Achieving Success

December 3, 2014 04:45 PM
By Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation, special to USTAFoundation.com

Every now and then you hear about everyday heroes doing extraordinary things in difficult circumstances. This is a narrative of the Elmore family and how it faced the challenges of the recession and thrived, through NJTL and tennis.

In 2008, William Elmore Sr. lost a major contract for his small window treatment business after 10 years. With a newborn, Aramoana, two older boys, Will and Rua, and a wife, Rata, he took a leap of faith and left everything behind to move across country from Philadelphia to start anew in Las Vegas, where he lived with his brother.

But for all the upheaval in the lives of the Elmores, one thing remained as a point of stability: The National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network.

"I didn't want to take my eldest son out of a Vanguard School and away from his tennis program at the Philadelphia National Journal Tennis League," said Rata Elmore. "When everything was changing in our lives, it was tennis [and] NJTL that was a constant. All a mother wants is for her children to be happy – and tennis kept my boys happy." 

Prior to the move, Will’s coach from the Philadelphia NJTL called Ryan Wolfington, founder of the Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation, an NJTL program in Las Vegas, and asked if the Las Vegas program could make a spot in its Team Bryan Excellence Program for Will and Rua. 

The Elmores were on the court the day after they arrived.

"Mr. Elmore came down with his boys daily and volunteered to help all the time," said Wolfington. "Mrs. Elmore was super mom, incredible at volunteering and educating her children." 

Will and brother Rua started in tennis and tutoring, earning a spot in the Team Bryan Leadership Program soon after. Two years later, Will was one of two selected to be a junior intern, a top leadership position that helps run the nonprofit foundation with real tasks and projects. In this role, he and three others created a fundraising event that brought in $130,000 for Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis. 

“I struggled immensely for a time [after moving from Philadelphia],” Will said. “I felt wrenched away from life. Luckily, my coach in Philadelphia knew of Ryan Wolfington and contacted him about the possibility of me joining his youth tennis and leadership foundation. Ryan graciously obliged, and I was brought into the group as seamlessly as I could’ve possibly dreamed. It was a windfall, finding such a cohesive group of like-minded individuals, all striving for greatness and growing from their collective successes. Since then, my family has flourished, through assistance from my uncle and the Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation.”

Buoyed by his successes on and off the court – he posted a 3.54 high school GPA – this past year Will was recruited and gained admission into the Villanova University Business School, which he is attending thanks to a scholarship from the USTA Foundation. Currently in the first semester of his freshman year, he is tracking to be on the dean’s list.

And as Will noted, his family is thriving as well, with a tip of the cap to NJTL.

"Because of William Elmore Sr.'s passion for tennis, the NJTL hired and trained him to be a coach" said Wolfington. "He is one of the best coaches we have ever had. He now runs a program and his wife is an active humanitarian. The Elmores have inspired and helped us more than anything we did for them."


To learn more about the National Junior Tennis and Learning network, visit the NJTL homepage.

For more on Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation, click here to watch their video on meaningful results.

And click here to donate to the USTA Foundation to support kids like Will Elmore.




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