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


We’re so proud we’re blushing!

We were named a Merit Finalist for this year’s Mutual of America Foundation’s Community Partnership Award. We are one of ten organizations in the country to be recognized for our community partnerships!

Mutual of America sponsored a “hometown luncheon” to celebrate and recognize the many partner organizations and individuals that have made TnT a success. A HUGE thank you to our community partners: the City of Jacksonville, Communities in Schools,  the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, John E. Ford K-8 School, Take Stock in Children, USTA Florida and USTA National Junior Tennis & Learning.

Another HUGE thank you to the many individuals who have worked our behalf: Leon Baxton, Luther & Blanche Coggin, Michael DuBow, Pat Hogan, Sheriff John Rutherford and Sherry Murray. Their efforts— whether fundraising, volunteering, advocating for our organization or working to keep the neighborhood we serve safe—make us who we are today.



MWKF Career Day!

For the past few years, we’ve hosted Career Days here at our Center in order to expose our students to various jobs, industries, professionals and cultures. At times, our Career Days had a specific focus. For example, we’ve done Career Days that focused on the health/medical industry and another time we’ve focused on the roles of top management. This year’s Career Day consisted of a variety of professionals representing diverse industries. Coming to speak to our students about your career is a great way to stay involved with MWKF as well as help our youth. Who knows, maybe one of our students will want to change career directions! Special thanks to all of our Career Day participants who volunteered their Friday afternoon to share their experiences with our students!

See the list of who participated in our Career Day below:

  • Dr. Chester Aikens and Chester Aikens, Jr.,  Chester A. Aikens, DDS
  • Fracine Lafaver, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department
  • Christy Schell and Andrea Goldman, EverBank
  • Jamesia McKay, Wes Kelly, Kevin DeLaRosa, General Electric
  • Adam Meinrod, Meinrod & Leeper Wealth Management
  • Bisi Ogunjumo, Brown & Brown Insurance
  • Christopher Bryan, CPA
  • Mike Burresh, Action News
  • Robbie Cunningham, Prosthetic Technician
  • Tim Davis, United Airlines
  • Keith Gaston, Florida Highway Patrol
  • James Fernandez, Jacksonville Zoo

Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Golf & Tennis Gala Features Amazing Live Auction Items

The Merrill Lynch/ Bank of America Golf & Tennis Gala represents MWKF’s largest fundraising event of the year!  The two-day event is expected to be even larger as we continue the year-long celebration of our 15 Year Anniversary.

Take a look at some of our unique Live Auction items, including private tennis lessons with tennis legend Andre Agassi and his wife Stefanie (Steffi) Graf in sunny Las Vegas! Think that’s interesting? Check out our other Live Auction items here!

Special Thanks to our Live Auction Sponsor, Resonate Global!

MWKF Student Chosen for NJTL Tennis Leadership Camp in California!

One of our students, Ta’tiyana Roberts was one of only 40 nationwide students chosen to attend the National Junior Tennis League’s 2011 Tennis Leadership Camp in Sonoma, California. The weeklong camp (July 18th– July 24nd)  was held on the campus of Sonoma State University and featured activities in leadership development, health & nutrition, college preparation, cultural excursions, social events and more. Campers were chosen by representatives from the United States Tennis Association(USTA) and NJTL based on coach recommendations, GPA, conduct grades and a written essay.

Ta’tiyana is an honor student and member of the National Junior Honor Society at John E. Ford K-8 School. Ta’tiyana is also a recipient of a Take Stock in Children college scholarship  and a CSX Extra Effort Award from MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation.

Congratulations, Ta’tiyana! Keep up the great work!


Camp Dynamite

Our third annual summer camp, Camp Dynamite was by far a success! Over 150 neighborhood kids came out and joined us for tennis and fun. To fill the days of camp, our campers participated in numerous activities. Each morning started off with tennis drills and lessons and each week our students enjoyed field trips, dance classes, drum lessons, special guests and arts & crafts.  Our campers were never bored! Our campers enjoyed fun field trips to the Jacksonville Zoo,  Kingsley Plantation,  Hands On Museum, and the Museum of Science and History! 

Our camp staff designed tons of activities to engage enthusiastic campers. We had a whole week of Color Wars where campers and staff were split into two teams. Red and blue battled it out in obstacle courses, games and other activites. The Red Team took the victory at the end but it was not an easy defeat!

The kids also brought in white tshirts and we had a tye dying day. The shirts turned out really well!We are sad to see the kids leave Camp Dynamite but we are excited about the 2011-2012 school year and for our  TnT afterschool program to begin!

Special thanks to all of our volunteers and chaperones who helped to make our Camp Dynamite a success!

To see pictures from our Camp Dynamite summer program, be sure to check them out on our Facebook page  here.