Sarah MacCallum and Mika Ikemori are accomplished junior tennis players known not only for their sportsmanship on the court, but also for their skills.
MacCallum, a junior at Laguna Beach High, teamed up with Breakers graduate Ella Pachl last year to win the CIF Southern Section Individual Doubles title. Ikemori, a sophomore at Marina High, was a Wave League singles finalist last year and advanced to the individual singles quarter-finals.
One part of MacCallum and Ikemori that shouldn’t be overlooked, however, is their ability to serve.
They partnered with the nonprofit club Second service to provide tennis rackets, shoes, bags and clothing to underprivileged children across the country and around the world.
The girls had Second Serve donation boxes installed at two clubs in Orange County, the Monarch Beach Tennis Club and the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club. People can donate their used equipment in the boxes.
After that, MacCallum and Ikemori collect the equipment and distribute it with the help of the San Diego sisters and tennis players Ayanna and Amani Shah. The Shah sisters launched Second Serve, which became active on Instagram as @secondserveclub, in 2019.
âWhen I first heard about it I was like, ‘Wow, that’s so cool,’ said Ikemori, who has been with the club since the start. âI think that’s really smart too, because every tennis player has old stuff lying around in your garage. It really could be better used for other kids who want to play tennis. I just thought it was a great idea.
MacCallum began donating equipment to the nonprofit, before joining him during the coronavirus pandemic.
âFor me, I joined in my forties, when I felt like ‘I don’t really know what I can do right now to make a difference’,â she said. âIt’s perfect for me because I’m making a difference and bonding and becoming stronger friends with my tennis friends. It’s so cool that we can all do this together, and we also help so many other people at the same time.
MacCallum said she was looking for other ways to donate equipment, possibly to underprivileged children in Santa Ana. She plans to contact Match Point Tennis Academy, which is run in Cabrillo Park, to develop a plan. She said any local person who has things to give can also message her on her Instagram page, @_sarahmaccallum, to arrange a pickup.
It’s a simple idea, but it has spread among the tight-knit community of junior tennis. Ayanna Shah said Second Serve now has “presidents” in 11 states and has donated equipment to seven countries, including Uganda, Mexico and India.
The club has caught the attention of some of the biggest tennis stars in the United States. Madison Keys selected Amani and Second Serve as the Medal of Kindness recipient, and also donated tennis equipment to the cause. The sisters also joined in the Sloane Stephens Foundation, by making two important donations.
This week, a shipment of over 60 pairs of tennis shoes was sent to a program called Manav Sadnha, which serves underprivileged children in the Ahmedabad region of western India.
âTheir children play sports without shoes on,â said Ayanna Shah. âA lot of the programs we give can’t even play on real tennis courts.
âThey have clay courts that they play on, which they kind of built themselves. Just seeing that they have such a great love for tennis with so little money, I think it’s just super cool that this equipment that we send them can help them so much and make such a big difference.
MacCallum and Ikemori hope they can play high school tennis this spring, if the coronavirus count improves. Ikemori would love to build on a very successful freshman year, while MacCallum hopes to play with her freshman sister Jessica, who was recently a 14-year-old girls finalist at the USTA Southern California Junior Championships.
Whatever happens, however, they plan to continue giving back through the second serve.
âRecently we have been looking for more money to ship the equipment to international organizations,â said Sarah MacCallum. âIf people don’t have equipment to donate, they can also go to the website and donate money. “
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