ATA Capital Campaign
“The Anguilla Tourist Board is pleased to endorse the efforts of the Anguilla Tennis Academy to raise the awareness of the important role this facility plays in shaping the lives of the children of Anguilla. This facility works for Anguilla on two levels: not only does it provide vital personal, social and physical development skills for this vulnerable sector of our society, but the Anguilla Tennis Academyprovides the opportunity for the Anguilla Tourist Board to attract Sports Tourism to the island, through its state-of-the-art tennis courts, and the professional services extended to the resorts and villas of the island. Your support of the Tennis Academy therefore benefits our most precious resource, our children, while giving us at the ATB another great reason to encourage visitors to come to our island. A win-win situation for all!”
“The Anguilla Tennis Academy is a proud example of what can be achieved through vision, tenacity and the combined efforts of the local, regional and international community. The Academy is touching lives and enabling Anguilla’s youth to achieve excellence in the sport of tennis.”
“The Anguilla Tennis Academy (ATA) is a world-class tennis facility that provides tremendous opportunities for Anguillan children. I applaud the great work Mitchelle Lake, Founder of the ATA, and the entire ATA team have achieved over the past 25 years. They are making a positive difference in the lives of children through tennis. I extend a hearty congratulations and wish them continued success in the years ahead.”
“Mitchelle Lake dreamed of a tennis academy that would highlight the beautiful island of Anguilla while providing opportunities for the children of Anguilla. After years of dedication and hard work, the Anguilla Tennis Academy became a reality. For the last 25 years, the ATA has been a shining light for both Anguillans and visitors alike. It has hosted ITF tournaments, camps, and everyday tennis matches. The ATA has also been a beacon of hope and promise for so many children, many whom have left the ATA with scholarships to universities. The ATA has an important role to play in the lives of our children and the children of future generations. Here’s to the next 25!”
Nestled among the various islands that comprise the lesser Antilles, is the British Overseas Territory called Anguilla. The land is eel-shaped, limestone-based, and lightly populated compared to neighboring nations. It represents tranquility wrapped in blue, but also has one of the best kept secrets of the Caribbean. However, the reason is not what one would ever expect from a region of the world known for its robust tourism industry due to the most magnificent white sandy beaches in the world.
Although slightly known and mentioned in bits and pieces, Anguilla contains one of the best stories to never have been told. One man’s dream, twenty-five years ago, precipitated the boldest endeavor ever to be undertaken in Caribbean sport. Amazingly enough, the story is not over.
In 1996, the Anguilla Tennis Academy was formulated in the mind of a freshman in his first year of University. While Mitchelle Vernon Lake sat at a small desk, in a student dormitory at Gardner-Webb University, he was overwhelmed with an immense sense of gratitude for the blessings he received. He collided with a new world, new mentality, and new course of study at the small North Carolina college. The story of how he received a tennis scholarship is arguably even more compelling than the fruition of a world class tennis academy built in an area of the world where tennis is reserved for only the wealthy and privileged. Yet, it planted the seed for a vision that quickly became shared by many.
From one small and dilapidated court that was available to the general public, to a now bustling tennis center with six lighted courts, Mr. Lake made the impossible a reality. Constructed by kindness and donations, the Anguilla Tennis Academy, in a relatively short amount of time, made an elite and unavailable sport into a pipeline for children to receive tennis scholarships to the United States. Since 1996, the ATA has been able to secure more then $1,200,000 for its students to pursue a higher education by using a vehicle that was previously unheard of.
There is far too much to tell in order to properly relay this story, but let it be known that Mr. Lake’s work has been met by monumental obstacles along the way. Even twenty-five years later, his now shared vision is continuing to beat all the odds.
The Anguilla Tennis Academy has made a profound impact on my life and to this day, the experiences continue to be some of the most gratifying moments of my existence. As a witness and employee of the ATA from its beginnings, it has been the catalyst to my current position in the tennis industry. Mr. Lake is not only an inspiration to all, but he is an inspiration to me. No one has ever believed in me, and helped me, to the degree of Mr. Lake. For this reason, he is, and forever shall be, the best friend I have on earth. As he is so caring and giving, it is certain that I am not the only one to make this claim. I am also sure that the many children who have now become adults, will also say, that Mr. Lake has effected their lives to the same degree.
I urge all to hear the compelling story of the Anguilla Tennis Academy and to support its mission to shape lives and build a future through tennis.