Being the Manager of the Samson Israel Tennis & Education Center in Beer Sheva is what giving back is all about for Yaniv Sakira. He grew up in the community and started playing tennis at the age of 6. Three years later the ITEC opened its center there and he soon found his second home.
“As a child, the ITEC gave me the opportunity to channel my energies in a positive way that kept me off the streets and out of trouble. I came from an average home where we didn’t have much money, especially after my parents divorced.” Yaniv recalls. “My mother didn’t have a lot to put toward lessons, so the ITEC stepped up and helped subsidize my training.”
That assistance paid off in a big way, as Yaniv quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the top 5 players in Israel. After finishing his military obligation, while completing studies at a local university, he was asked to come back to the center as Beer Sheva’s Manager, and he is now starting his 8th year there, continuing to give back to the community that he has always called his home.
“I can honestly say that the values and life skills I learned came from my years at the ITEC. Qualities like self discipline, commitment and perseverance are all things that were taught to me there, and they not only helped me be a better student and soldier, but a better person committed to helping other children succeed on the court and in life.”
Yaniv’s goals for the future are all about offering programs that will continue to provide opportunities to those less fortunate, including at risk children, those with special needs, children of Ethiopian immigrants and Arab and Jewish youngsters together through the ITEC’s Coexistence Program.
“Beer Sheva is the Capital of the Negev, and we have a responsibility to help as many kids as we can to become productive members of our community. I see the ITEC as the perfect place to make that happen, and my goal is to help any child who comes to us in need. We are near capacity now, and I want to create even more programs and services to make sure we turn no child away… ever!”