Illinois native Donald Young, Jr., who is ranked 57th in the world of professional tennis and has been chosen for the U.S. Olympic tennis team, turned his attention from competition to inspiration as he visited the tennis center to speak to an assembled group of Clayton County summer camp youngsters and those taking tennis lessons at the center.
Although he will depart for the Olympics in a matter of days, Young, who advanced to the fourth round of U.S. Open last year, stopped by to accept a Clayton County Commission proclamation from Chairman Eldrin Bell and speak to the more than 100 on hand to welcome him.
Young, who posed for numerous photos with the tennis and summer camp students and administrators, encouraged the youngsters, whether in sports, business or wherever their future dreams lie, to continue to learn, develop and “always stay on course to develop and improve.”
“Never stop learning or working to improve yourself in mind, body and spirit,” Young said, adding that tennis is rapidly becoming one of the most popular athletic endeavors in the African American community for boys and girls.
“Just remember, whatever your passion, in or outside of sports, listen to those who have achieved success in that field or endeavor and learned from their experiences because I hope to never stop learning.”
Following his presentation, Bell led the assembled children to say in a unified voice, “Never stop trying.”
Young, who began playing tennis at three years old, told a group of camp officials that it is vital for them to work with the youngsters in improving their talents and skills.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to hear or talk to any sports professional,” he said. “But anytime I was around them, I was in awe.”
He added that when youngsters see and hear those they look up to speak to them about skill development, perseverance, sportsmanship, integrity and the value of hard work, “it motivates and inspires them.”
“If you are blessed with an athletic skill or are proficient in any endeavor, there are those who look up to you,” Young said. “If you have the opportunity to help them, seize that opportunity because it could change that individual’s life because he or she would realize someone cares.”
Read more about the proclamation given to Young by Bell in Sports, page 3B.