Jojo Donetti, BCTA board treasurer and director of our junior tennis program, was recently featured in the USTA Norcal Community news!
Jojo Donetti: a woman on a mission
by USTA Norcal Staff
“The sky is the limit.” This phrase illustrates Jojo Donetti’s mentality, attitude and work ethic perfectly. Working 60 hours a week at her full time job, she steadily gives another 10 hours a week to the Benicia Community Tennis Association (BCTA).
An Account Delivery Manager for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise during the day, Donetti assumes two more roles for the BCTA’s Board Members: she is the BCTA’s Treasurer and the Junior Program Director. “I do it because I love seeing the look on the kids’ faces when they learn a new skill and getting them excited about the sport,” Donetti says. Furthermore, she finds time to captain USTA Adult and Junior league teams and helps coach the Benicia High School girls’ team.
Donetti was drawn back to tennis by Ron and MarieAnne Tabtab after taking 25 years off, and accepted both BCTA’s positions in 2011. The Spring Sunday program was the only one available during the year, targeted for kids ages 6 to 12. Led by Ed Padrones and several BCTA volunteers, 60 to 80 kids participated in this program on Sunday afternoons each March & April. The BCTA Board of Directors decided to reach more children in the community and provide professional coaching to keep them engaged year-round. A training path was developed by Jojo and UPTA-certified Coach Peter Benko, and subsequently USPTR-certified Coach Calvin McCullough, to work with beginning and intermediate level players. “I wanted to develop a year round after-school program starting in Middle School, so they could compete when they entered High School.”
Through grass root outreach, numerous School District meetings, and negotiations, there are now several programs in place all year round. Donetti first worked with the BCTA and the School District to create an after-school program at the Benicia Middle School. The Fall after-school program started in 2011 with 35 kids, to reach a peak of 47 players in 2013. Winter and Spring after-school programs have enjoyed similar success.
USTA NorCal Tennis Service Representative Cherryl Silva, is extremely grateful for her work. “She helps the section be successful and achieve our section goal of growing and promoting tennis. She does it so consistently, she’s definitely one of a kind” Silva says.
When trying to implement the after-school programs, the BCTA encountered several challenges. Previous agreements between the School District and the City of Benicia were in place, preventing them from creating these programs at the Benicia Middle School. After negotiations with the School District, the City of Benicia Parks and Recs and the Middle School, they came to an agreement benefiting all parties.
Building on that success, Donetti continues to work on other projects. As part of Measure S, which approved funding to make numerous repairs and improvements throughout the School District, the BCTA will help get both the Benicia Middle School and Benicia High School courts rebuilt with new lights. The BMS project will begin in 2017 and BHS is estimated to start within two years.
Through determination and persistence, Jojo Donetti has rejuvenated the Benicia Tennis Community. “It’s great to see kids who haven’t played before gain confidence and enjoy the sport, that’s why I do it.”