As a young girl growing up in Long Beach, Calif., I was fortunate to have access to public tennis courts. The opportunities for free instruction and available court time made a huge difference in my life and career.
And I wasn't alone. Chris Evert, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, and so many great players from tennis got their start in a public park program.
So, yes, the protection and the future of our public parks are near and dear to me.
Programs like LOVE Your Park Week here in Philadelphia need our support and our attention. We can't just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk.
The Philadelphia Freedoms have contributed to the refurbishment of the tennis courts at Hunting Park. Now, many children will be able to learn and to play tennis in a safe environment on the bright, multicolored courts of World Team Tennis.
At the Hunting Park courts, we recently unveiled a plaque that says, "Tennis, like life, is best when taken one ball at a time." It is our hope these courts will offer children a chance to be active, and to become champions, on the court and in life.
Here in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to champion the Fairmount Park system. The park system plays a central role in the lives of many families and is the anchor for every neighborhood. Their model is working and they are creating limitless possibilities for countless young children and their families.
Being active in this community is an important part of the mission of the Philadelphia Freedoms, and we want to lead by example. Public/private partnerships like the one we have established with Fairmount Park Conservancy show that, when we work collectively to improve our public park system, we can create a lasting legacy of education and physical well-being.
A healthy park should be a catalyst for positive change. Whether you are a young child in Philadelphia or in Long Beach, you deserve a safe and accessible place to live your dreams.