The National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton’s (NJTLT) 27th Annual Gala on September 26th was a success. After being postponed twice since the 2019 event, those lost revenues negatively impacted this non-profit that provides so much for Trenton-area youth and relies on fund-raising events. However, it raised over $300,000 in sponsorships, a silent auction, and ticket sales to help get NJTLT back on track.

From left to right: Thomas Majdanski, Board President; Ginny Mason, Honorary Co-chair; Albert Stark, Honorary Co-chair; Jeffrey Perlman, Honoree; Benny Sims, World-renowned tennis coach; Andrew Lieu – Co-chair; and Amy Decker – Co-chair (Photo credit: Beverly Schaefer)

Rather than the usual dressy sit-down dinner, NJTLT opted for a tennis component followed by an informal reception at The Boathouse at Mercer Lake that consisted of mingling, heavy appetizers, and enjoying the company of special guests, the Bryan Brothers, winners of 16 grand slam titles and highly thought of as one of the best professional doubles tennis teams in history.

During the afternoon tennis at Mercer County Tennis Center, the identical twins wowed the crowd of over 150 with dazzling displays of shot-making and fun and interactive drills with sponsors and NJTLT kids.

NJTL kids hitting tennis balls with the Bryan Brothers during NJTLT gala in West Windsor, NJ on September 26, 2021. (Photo credit: Beverly Schaefer)

If anyone was in doubt about the NJTLT,  it was obvious watching the talented students rally with the Bryans. And the extraordinary play by program kids Rosemary Esquivel and Alfred Kandakai was a shining example of just how much they have progressed through the program. Educational and mentoring aspects are also program components. Graduates will be attending 13 different colleges this fall. Many are because of NJTLT scholarships. “Impressive talent,” noted Mike Bryan.

“We are happy to be here helping a great cause. We believe in the program and what they are doing for young kids,” said Bob Bryan.

So many people contributed to making the day so special, including a committee of volunteers under the leadership of Amy Decker and Andrew Lieu, honoree Jeff Perlman; honorary co-chairs Albert Stark and Ginny Mason, emcees Eric Scott and Alan Meinster, executive director Bob Loonie, NJTLT coaches, and Board President Thomas Majdanski. The NJTLT is especially grateful for all the sponsors. Albert and Ellen Stark were the Premier Sponsors and over 50 additional sponsors graciously contributed, a tribute to how the community has supported and believes in the work of the NJTLT.

Bryan Brothers flanked by NJTL graduates Rosemary Esquivel and Alfred Kandakai, and Premier Sponsor/Honorary Co-chair Albert Stark (Photo credit: Beverly Schaefer)

“It was a great day,” said Mike Bryan. “We were happy to be a part of it.”

National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton creates opportunities for success by enriching the lives of under-resourced youth through innovative tennis, education, and mentoring programs designed to prepare student athletes for the ultimate goal of successful college admissions and career placement.

For more information on NJTLT and how to donate, visit njtloftrenton.org.