Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic
For 29 years, Chris Evert Charities has partnered with The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a public-private partnership that makes a measurable difference in the lives of Florida’s vulnerable children. Chris Evert’s efforts have contributed more than $23 million in an ongoing campaign against drug abuse and child neglect in Florida. Proceeds from Evert's most recent fundraiser, which totaled $800,000, will be distributed through The Ounce of Prevention Fund to a variety of innovative, community-based programs serving at-risk families. These funds also provide Vitas Gerulaitis Memorial Scholarships to women who are current or past participants in the organization's programs.
Vitas Gerulaitis and Alan Thicke Memorial Scholarships
Chris Evert and the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida announced Jaquira Church of Orlando as the recipient of the 2019 Vitas Gerulaitis Memorial Scholarship and Dana Tiek-Sosa of Port Charlotte as the recipient of the 2019 Alan Thicke Memorial Scholarship. The two-year college scholarships are named in honor of the late Vitas Gerulaitis, a tennis pro known for his compassion and generosity and the late actor Alan Thicke, a loyal participant and supporter of Evert's annual pro-celebrity tennis tournament. They are awarded each year to women who have demonstrated a strong desire to improve their lives by participating in community-based prevention programs administered in partnership with the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
Tennis legend Chris Evert awards the Vitas Gerulaitis Memorial Scholarship to Jaquira Church of Orlando.
"I'm proud to name Jaquira Church as the recipient of the 2019 Vitas Gerulaitis Memorial Scholarship," said Chris Evert. "She possesses the strength to thrive in the face of adversity and understands the importance of education in reaching her goals. It is an honor to help young women like Jaquira achieve their dreams."
Four years ago, Church became a single parent and has struggled at times to provide for her family. Despite difficult circumstances, she does everything within her power to give her daughter and unborn baby a better start in life than she had. Church plans to study business at Seminole State College, become an entrepreneur and leave a legacy for her children.
Tennis legend Chris Evert and Tanya Thicke, widow of late actor Alan Thicke, award the Alan Thicke Memorial Scholarship to Dana Tiek-Sosa (far right) of Port Charlotte. Also pictured is Jaquira Church of Orlando.
"I'm proud to name Dana Tiek-Sosa as the recipient of the 2019 Alan Thicke Memorial Scholarship," said Chris Evert. "Life's circumstances caused Dana to postpone her goals but she hasn't lost sight of improving her circumstances for the benefit of her children. It is an honor to help young women like Dana achieve their dreams."
Five years ago, Tiek-Sosa aspired to work in the medical field when she became pregnant. The baby's father chose to not be involved with the baby. Tiek-Sosa left school and worked three jobs to make ends meet. The stress of three jobs caused health problems during her pregnancy and she was forced to cut back. She struggled to cover the bills and daycare expenses. Since that time, she got married and had a second child. Tiek-Sosa is now enrolled in Florida Southwestern State College to pursue nursing, a desire she has held since age 15.
"Since 1994, these scholarship programs have empowered 45 women to improve their lives, and the lives of their children, by pursuing their educational goals," said Douglas Sessions, Jr., President and CEO of the Ounce of Prevention Fund. "We are pleased and honored to partner with Chris Evert Charities to help families become self-sufficient and provide their children with the best start in life."
For more information about the Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic and Black Tie Gala, visit www.chrisevert.org or call (561) 394-2400. To find out how you can contribute directly to the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, click here.