McKay Novak Thank You Letter to Donor Laurie Steed

Dear Mrs. Steed,

I do not just want to write you a thank you letter. I want to tell you a story of how you have affected my life in a positive way and I hope that will serve as a meaningful thank you. I have been involved with the Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation since I was ten years old. I was also the first child that they started from scratch; I knew nothing of tennis and really was just following my cousin into the sport. For the first three months I was on a court all by myself just hitting with a ball machine. I worked hard and was ranked #1 in the 10's division in Las Vegas by the end of my first year. I no longer was playing because of my older cousin, I was playing because it was something I had fun with and something I had a passion for. The Foundation subsidized the cost of academy for me and even paid for a lot of the traveling costs. After a while they paid for my tournaments and covered more and more of the payments so that I could continue with the sport. The Foundation taught me about the importance of leadership and how I could apply it to other areas of my life. Consequently, my teachers in school noticed the change in me and nominated me for a leadership trip on the east coast. However this trip was 2,500 dollars and my family simply could not afford the amount. Ryan, recognizing the opportunity for me, said, "let's do some fundraising." I asked family members and friends to donate items for a raffle. I went on the strip and sold these raffle tickets with Ryan for five hours. I went around my church and asked everyone I knew. However I was still short on the total. Ryan then said he could set up a meeting with a donor for me. That donor was you. You paid 500 dollars so that I could attend this leadership trip in Washington D.C. and it was also my first time meeting or even hearing directly from a donor of the Foundation. I still remember you smiling at me and saying, "If you do not come up with enough money to fund the trip please call me. Call me if you need anything." I called my mom and squealed in excitement and told her the news of the woman who gave me more money than I had ever imagined. I was able to go on the trip. The leadership trip was a success and really gave me a lot of tools that I have used over the years. However the trip is not the most important part of the story to me. It was your generosity at a whim after meeting me that really impacted me. And it was not just that one time that I feel you have helped me out of a rut. When I was not in a good place in my life, you invited Ryan, myself, and around ten other kids to go swimming at your house. I was able to bond with the kids over the bubbles in your hot tub. During the Apprentice Competition I worked over 100 hours without a single donation. You allowed Kimberly and I to visit your restaurant contacts and those donations seriously made Kimberly and I smile ear to ear. Both of us really needed that boost to make us feel like our hard work was paying off. Lastly at the retreat, you were the one who made the entire thing possible. I was able to spend time with the alumni; people whom I have looked up to since my days on the ball machine at the Hilton. You also allowed me to aid the younger generation just like myself who are just starting to see their own potential with the help of the Foundation. From the very beginning you have been there; you have been willing to step in just when I needed it the most and I really wanted to thank you for everything: every muffin at tournaments, every contact you shared with Kimberly and me, every time you opened up your house, and every moment you have spent on myself and everyone else in the Foundation. Thank you.

McKay Novak