Serena Williams Donates Prize Money and Girl Triber Daryn Dusansky Writes About Her Organization

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 12: Serena Williams of the USA holds her daughter Alexis Olympia with the trophy following the Women's Final between Serena Williams and Jessica Pegula of the USA on day seven of the 2020 Women's ASB Classic at ASB Tennis Centre on January 12, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Serena Williams Wins First Title In Three Years, Donates Prize Money To Australian Bushfire Relief

By Reese Wolfe


Going into 2020, Serena Williams had not won a tennis tournament in three years. In 2017, the last time Serena won, Serena, who was pregnant at the time, beat her sister and fierce competitor, Venus in a final. Three years later, Serena is back on top, beating fellow American Jessica Pegula to win the ASB Class in Auckland, New Zealand. This was Serena’s astounding 73rd career title and first career title since becoming a mother. Williams stated “It feels good, it’s been a long time.” Furthermore, Serena announced that she would donate her winnings of $43,000 to Australian bushfire relief. Serena decided to make this donation as she has “been playing in Australia for over 20 years.” Serena also stated in an interview that it “has been really hard for me [Serena] to watch all the news and everything that’s been happening in Australia with all the fires and over a billion animals and people who have lost their homes.” With the win in Auckland under her belt, Serena Wlliams has now won a tennis title in four decades, winning her first title in February of 1999. Serena Williams big win in Auckland, New Zealand, does not only serve as a milestone in her career but as a major contribution to Australian bushfire relief. 




Girl Tribe Member Daryn Dusansky Created The Balloon Project – An Organization to Celebrate Monthly Birthdays for Children in Homeless Shelters

By Daryn Dusansky


Last year, I began my junior year in New Orleans. My birthday was just a few days after my arrival. While I had a physical home, I felt out of place in this new city, and my thoughts went to children struggling for shelter whose birthdays fall to the wayside. In an effort to find my place in my new town, I set out to create an organization to celebrate monthly birthdays for children living in homeless shelters. 

My empathy for those less fortunate inspires me to follow my passion to help. In New York, I committed to mentor emotionally challenged children living in transitional housing at the Pleasantville Cottage School. Noni, a resident, told me that it was her birthday. Cupcakes were the afternoon snack; I found a candle, placed it in the cupcake, and sang “Happy Birthday.” Noni’s tears flowed with joy. In that moment, I realized the powerful impact of small acts of kindness.

Approaching my school executive committee to form a new club I was met with hesitation, but I was confident that once they saw my vision, they would approve. Each board member received an invitation to a fictitious birthday party for children living at a shelter. This meeting brought a conditional “yes”; I would now have to find the right shelter, funding, volunteers, and teacher to supervise. I was elated when my physics teacher offered to supervise the club, and after visiting ten shelters, one stood out, because the director shared my enthusiasm. My next step was funding and volunteers. I was on a mission: Balloon Project birthday parties would soon be a reality. 


When the school announced an assembly, I knew this was my chance to educate the entire student body. My speech led to even more donations and volunteers than I needed. I encouraged members to share ideas, giving everyone the opportunity for input. This style of leadership has led to fabulous birthday parties at the shelter.

 Getting The Balloon Project airborne required many leadership traits I did not initially know I possessed. It was only when I was tested that my innate abilities flourished. When the school paper announced a new club, The Balloon Project, I was very proud. My creativity in crafting bold ideas that speak to peoples’ hearts was instrumental in opening the minds of the executive committee. My ability to express an idea that resonated with an audience enabled me to attract many committed members. Knowing how to roll up my sleeves, focus on solutions, and connect with people are all leadership qualities that made The Balloon Project a success.



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