For years I wanted to do a charity on my own and do something that I knew would be beneficial for others. I could not make up my mind. Should I do something within Africa, or should I do something for women? What is my real Love?
All my life my Father and Mother stressed education. My sisters and I were not allowed to do any fun extra curricular actives if we got bad grades. A bad grade being defined as a C or lower we were only allowed to bring home A's and B's. Anything less was unacceptable! Looking back on what my parents did I am so happy. It has truly helped me in all my endeavors.
Even though you guys mostly see on the tennis court I do spend a lot of my time off the court engaging in various business ventures. I always think "what if something happened tomorrow and I was not able to pursue my tennis career?" Then what? Well my parents always stressed education for this very reason. When I was 18 I went to college for a couple of years to get a degree in fashion, and simultaneously I started my own fashion company called Aneres. I did this because I love fashion and I know it’s something that I am good at and I can do for a very long time.
I often think and say to myself “what I can do to help others.” For years I have donated to so many different charities because I am a philanthropist at heart and I believe in the bible adage that says “giving is better than receiving.”
When I give I truly feel excited and happy and my heart rejoices. Last November I went to Africa and saw things over there that were simply not fair. Kids could not afford to go to school because their parents could not afford to pay $1.00 a week I was mortified. What would I have done if I did not have my education? I would be in a bad situation. I would probably be a bad money manager and I would be heading for a dead end. I couldn’t see these young people just not attend school and damage their future; however I understood that their parents simply don't have the money for school.
I thought to myself as I toured Africa “what could I do?” Then I thought to myself I have finally found my calling, I finally found my love. I love education, I love helping people, and I love seeing people succeed. I want this world to be a better place for tomorrow.
(Giving old Gwineth a run for her money
) Therefore, I am building a school in Senegal that will allow kids to attend school for free. This school will be controlled through my foundation. These kids will have a chance to be the best that they can be and more. What is most important is that these kids will have a chance. That is what matters the most.
I was not satisfied there I wanted more. I love Africa as those are my roots, but I want to do more. I live in the United States of America and although my roots are in Africa there are tons of people here that do not have an opportunity to go to a good school either. I could not help but think how can I go help clean someone else’s room when ours is still so dirty? One day I was sitting down on my couch watching TV and I saw a life changing commercial. Picture it: An African American kid sitting on the stoop of his home he was only 6 or 7 years old and he is a smart kid he looks to have a bright future. Fast forward to 10 years and he is again on the stoop but his future does not look so bright. He could not afford to go to college so he has to stay home. Another 5 years and he is still sitting in the same place but now he is on drugs and doing other negative things. There are so many kids Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, etc. that are living in the same conditions.
If we create a society that fosters education and provides plentiful resources for financing college, than we create a healthier more productive society. Hence there won’t be as much crime if kids are not loitering around, and wasting time because of not being able to afford to do something with their time and brain. I am one person and no I am not trying to save the world or trying to make world peace. I would be happy if I could just help one person. That would be more than enough for me... But if we all just help one person imagine the impact we could make. It’s mind boggling to think about.
The Serena Williams Foundation deals with education. I will be giving high school kids grants from all over the country. Aiding them and helping to send them to college and learn a trade or learn enough to start their own company. Learn more about the Serena Williams foundation in the coming months. There is so much we can and will do. I can’t wait to send the first kid to college!