Great partners make a greater impact!

The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation partners with Take Stock in Children in providing our students with a 2-year community college scholarship & a mentor to encourage students in goal setting & college preparation.

Judy & Tequilla have been meeting almost every week for the last 3 years. Judy was introduced to MWYF prior to her involvement with TSIC. She joined our board and found out about the opportunity Tequilla had through Take Stock, so signed up to be her mentor!

We asked Judy what her favorite part about mentoring is and this is what she said:

“I look forward to seeing Tequilla each week, and hearing about all the details of her life. We talk about her progress in school, of course, and address how to tackle any problems she is having. But what I enjoy most is listening to her thoughts about her life – what interests her, what she’s passionate about, what path she’d like to take in life.”

Many of the staff at MWYF are mentors for Take Stock, meeting with mentees a few times a month, to talk about college preparedness & life.

Tequilla, now in 10th grade,  said that when she and Judy first started meeting, she just wanted to know how she was going to help keep her on track. Now, she is so thankful for the relationship they have. She says “My favorite part of meeting with Mrs. Judy is our relationship. She likes to talk about doing things outside of TnT with me, and she treats me kind of like a child of hers.”

We love that the mentor/mentee relationships fostered through the Take Stock program become ones that last. “While most adults begin mentoring to make a difference in the life young person, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has wondered if the benefit to me is even greater. I look forward to seeing Tequilla each week, celebrating her triumphs and sharing her challenges. I have a bond with her that I hope will last a lifetime. said Mrs. Judy.

We’re thankful for great partners that believe in our students and their potential. If you’d like to sign up for the Take Stock in Children mentoring program, click this link:



Bernard: College Bound!


Bernard is a senior at Robert E. Lee High School. We are very proud of him & all he’s accomplished throughout his educational career. Read his story below:

“Coming to the program has helped me because It has made me realize how much of an asset college is. This program has put in my head at an early age that college is possible. TnT set a trail for me on how to be successful and that all I had to do was apply myself.

For college, I’m undecided on where I want to go. However, I do know that I want to major in Physical Therapy. Having already completed an internship with Brooks Rehabilitation, I realized that I am sure about this major. While in school I also plan to play collegiate basketball.

The activities I am currently involved in are yearbook staff, basketball, tennis, & 5,000 Role Models. 5,000 Role Models helped me to go to Washington, DC. In Washington I was 1 of 14 other people chosen out of the whole COUNTRY. This was a round table for us to talk about youth and police relations. It was a really great and unforgettable experience.

What I am most excited about for college is getting my degree and getting to know myself better as a young adult!”

-Bernard T.

Mentoring at MaliVai – Nick & Troy

Troy and Nick

The mentoring program at MaliVai Washington provides so many opportunities for our students to  gain insight & knowledge about life experiences from their mentor while building positive relationships. This program gives our students the opportunity to receive one-on-one homework assistance and to have someone dedicated to helping them succeed as an individual.

We take time in matching each mentee with their mentor & we are continually encouraged when we hear of stories about positive life change happening in our students and volunteers!

Below is Nick & Troy’s story about their experience through the mentor program. We hope you are as inspired & encouraged as we were after hearing their story:

(These direct quotes have been taken from a recent essay Troy wrote about his greatest role model and an interview with his mentor, Nick)

“Mr. Nick is my mentor. He has been my mentor for three years. He is where I want to be when I grow up.” – Troy (6th grade)

Nick Smith, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy was matched with one of our students, Troy, through our mentoring program when Troy was in the 4th grade. Three years later, Nick and Troy (now in 6th grade) still meet at the center for about an hour to talk about homework, work, school and life.

“My mentor serves in the Navy and I want to serve in the military. Sometimes when I see him in his uniform I imagine myself dressed the same way he is.” – Troy (6th grade)

Often times, Nick comes to the center after work, still dressed in his uniform. Obvious questions arose about what he does and what his work entails. The discipline, dedication, & commitment taught in the Navy are lessons easily transferable to the importance of having those qualities when it comes to school work. The relationship built between them has become one that inspires Troy on the journey towards his future!

“Recently, Troy has begun considering a future in the U.S. Navy. The possibility that I might walk with him on a journey to serve his country is, without question, my favorite part about mentoring.” – Nick Smith

At the center everyone knows when they see Nick, he’s here to hang with Troy!

“Most of my day is spent being called Lieutenant Smith or Nick. At MWYF I am ‘Troy’s mentor’ and I couldn’t be more happy about it.” -Nick Smith

The commitment Nick has to Troy has trickled outside of the center and has led to building a relationship with Troy’s family! We love how their relationship has developed over the last few years  and hope it continues to grow as Troy moves on to the 7th grade and beyond. We’re thankful for all that Nick has done & continues to do in developing such strong commitment to Troy’s success. We’re also excited to watch Troy learn, grow, and become all he was meant to be!

“I thank him everyday. I thank him for going out of his way to be the best mentor anyone can have!” -Troy (6th grade)

Nick & Troy

Arthur Ashe National Contest Winner & Winning Essay

CONGRATS to rising 7th grader Alfredo who was one of only 10 contest winners in the USTA Foundation’s NJTL National Arthur Ashe Essay and Photo Contest! Alfredo’s essay about his local NJTL hero won him a trip for two New York City and the 2015 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess on August 29th. Great job, Alfredo! For all interested in reading his essay, check it out here!  News4Jax also covered this great achievement. Check out their full story here.

AlfredoArthur Ashe Kids Day 2015

What a Scholarship Means to Me

scholarship winners

Ashton (second from the left) and other scholarship recipients pictured at the 2013 Gala where they were acknowledged for their hard work.

During my time as a student in the TnT program, I was able to earn over $16,000 in scholarships. While I was applying for college, it was nice to know that this money was available to use for classes, books and other expenses.

I currently attend FSCJ and plan to transfer to UCF next year. I am currently majoring in biology but am thinking about switching my major to exercise science. After I graduate with my Bachelor’s degree I will apply to Physical Therapy school. I hope to have some scholarship money left because PT school is expensive!

I think all of the students in the program should apply for scholarships because it is a good opportunity to get money for school. It’s also a good opportunity for them to practice their interview skills which they will need later when they apply for jobs.

-Ashton Scott

The Road to a 4.0


My name is Tiah and I am currently in 6th grade.  My middle school is a math, science and technology school.  Last year, because of my high FCAT scores, I tested into advanced classes.  That means that I am above the standard 6th grade level.

We have finished the 3rd quarter and I have successfully maintained a 4.0 GPA.  This accomplishment has made me very proud of my academic performance.  The way I feel about my grades encourages me to finish out the year with a perfect GPA.  It would be a great accomplishment to finish my 6th grade year with all A’s.

Keeping up my GPA is very important to me.  All of my good grades help me ensure my seat in a good high school, then on to college.  But for now I’m going to focus on maintaining my 4.0 average for the remainder of the year.



4.0 Trip: Antonia and Shavonna Visit NYC


Antonia (12th grade) and Shavonna (9th grade) are the first students in the history of the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation to earn the 4.0 Trip.  Their hard work paid off and they had a great time in NYC!

“This trip by far has been amazing!!!  We got to see and learn a lot about New York and its history.
Starting at the airport in Jacksonville: We were both nervous, hungry and tired considering it was 6:00 in the morning.  Going through the baggage check was hectic had about 5 items that weren’t allowed on the plane (and Shavonna had about 8 added Antonia).  Because of that we had to go check that bag out at baggage claim and re-enter security.  First getting on the plane we were both nervous because this was our first time riding a plane and Toni’s stomach was hurting.  Take-off was a little shaky but not too bad.  After the first 10 minutes we were good and asleep (Shavonna fell asleep on Antonia’s arm- it went numb).  The landing of the plan was rough because it was unexpected.  Once we arrived in NY we rode our first taxi to our hotel, the Grand Hyatt.  The hotel was very beautiful and filled with tennis decorations.  For the rest of the day we walked down Fifth Avenue and visited Times Square. That night we rode our first subway, which was very smelly.  We caught the subway to our first Broadway show,  Motown: The Musical.  The show was very entertaining and informative about music.  The next day we got an exclusive tour of the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open.  We watched Venus and Serena’s doubles match which they won.  Then on our way to Roger Federer’s match, we got drenched and had to leave.  Monday morning we met up with MaliVai for breakfast at Pax.  After breakfast we visited the 9/11 memorial building, then we rode a ferry to Staten Island and saw the Statue of Liberty.  Once we saw all of that, we visited the Empire State Building, which was 86 floors.  After that we went back to the hotel and chilled for about an hour then went to the airport where our flight was delayed. We hope we’ll be able to go on the trip again next year and hope that some of the other students will get a 4.0 so they can join us!”
-Shavonna and Antonia

Reflections from a MWYF Grad

Benzell, a recent graduate of Paxon School for Advanced Studies, has been part of the T-n-T program since 2004.  In his 10 years at the Foundation he has spent hours on the courts, made many friends and has served as a positive role model for younger students.  Here are his thoughts on his time at the Foundation and his next big adventure:


“In 3rd grade, I watched a presentation that would change my life.  My parents liked that the students in the program receive daily homework assistance, learn to play tennis, attend life skills classes and learn to be a leader;  I thought playing with my friends after school and getting snacks was a great deal!  Tennis wasn’t always a huge part of my life.  My early memories of the Foundation consist of tennis lessons on two crowded courts, always waiting in line for a chance to hit a few balls.   As I got older I leaned to love the game, mainly because my friends liked it more too, and began to focus on my development as a player.  Not only was I improving on the court, but I was also doing well in school and getting some good advice in my leadership classes.  My biggest accomplishment came in high school when I won the Student Athlete of the Year Scholarship (2011).  The opportunities that came about when I won this award expanded my network and I decided to apply for a military academy.  I’ve never really put all of my eggs in one basket, but I did with this and the outcome was unbelievable.  I only applied to two schools: West Point and the Naval Academy.  I was appointed to both and chose to attend the United States Military Academy (West Point).  As I get ready to leave for college (on July 1st) I think back on my time at the Foundation.  I have grown as both a player and student over the years.  I now have many leadership qualities and experience in dealing with difficult situations.  I know I’m ready for the challenges ahead of me and I can’t wait to come back with stories for my friends at the Foundation.  Thank you for your support and thanks to Mal for the wonderful opportunities.”

Andre Agassi is our Featured Guest at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Gala!

Whenever the fall season begins to roll in, we get VERY excited around here because that means that the Gala is just around the corner! This year, we’re changing things up a bit and hosting the 17th Annual Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Gala during the month of October! What makes this year special from all other previous galas? Special guest and Olympic Gold Medalist will be attending our Gala Dinner, helping us celebrate Champions for Children! On Thursday, October 17th the Gala Dinner will be held at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa in the Champions Ballroom. During dinner, you’ll hear how easy it is to become a champion for children and how your support and volunteerism helps to create better lives for our youth. The Gala Dinner is complete with Silent & Live Auctions as well as special awards presentations to our students for their hard work. A Tennis Pro-Am featuring local tennis pros will be held on Friday, October 18th at San Jose Country Club. All proceeds from the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Gala goes directly to the programs of the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation.

You definitely do not want to miss this opportunity to attend our Gala event and meet one of the world’s top tennis players! For tickets and sponsorship information, please call 904.359.5437 or visit  VIP Reception & Photo Opportunity tickets are available but in limited supply!



MWKF Announces New Name & Logo!

Last month, we announced our NEW Name & Logo and it appears that everyone loves it so far! The new name & logo is part of a comprehensive rebranding effort which places more emphasis on academic and personal success.

This is what Mal had to say about the change:

“When we first started this organization, we only provided tennis programs to elementary aged youth”, said MWYF Founder, MaliVai Washington.  “Our new name and logo identifies the fact that, although tennis will always be a part of our programs, we now place more emphasis on learning and success in life.   We also serve youth from kindergarten through young adult program alumni who are now students in college.  We hope the change will portray our mission more effectively especially to those who may not be aware of what we do,” commented, MaliVai Washington.

 We posted the logo to Facebook and Twitter and we’re happy to say that both our name and logo change were well received by our supporters! They LOVE it and so do we! One of the best things about a new logo, is new t-shirts!

What do YOU think?

MWYF Color Stacked