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SES Pro-Am fundraising tennis tournament Sept. 15 dedicated to the memory of Harry Collins

Harry Collins
Harry Collins Courtesy

The 13th Annual Sean Eduardo Sanchez (SES) fundraising Pro-Am will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, beginning at 1 p.m. at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, located at 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe. Tennis-playing amateurs who will pay a donation entry fee in three separate divisions (men’s division, open division and women’s division) and will be partnered with local tennis professionals to compete for the championship.

Proceeds from the two-day event will benefit the children enrolled in the SES Tennis Center located in Tecate, Mexico, (a California-based 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization), which provides access to free tennis lessons, tennis equipment and cross border tournament transportation while also supporting the efforts of the Empty Cradle, a San Diego nonprofit organization that helps parents cope with the loss of an infant before, during or after birth. (emptycradle.org).

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa has underwritten and hosted the event at the resort for the past 12 consecutive years and this year the event will be dedicated to the memory of Harry Collins, who passed away on June 3, 2018. Collins was a driving force behind the development of the SES Tennis Center, by contributing initial funding for the construction of the first two tennis courts, along with several other donors. Collins had a passion for tennis and constructed and opened Rancho Valencia Resort in 1989 on 45 acres in Rancho Santa Fe.

It was at that time that Eduardo Sanchez was hired by Collins to develop the award-winning tennis program at the resort, “I’ll never forget the first time I met Harry Collins on the grounds of the Rancho Valencia Resort construction site --- I told him I was applying for the job as Head Tennis Pro and he invited me to chat with him. I was later introduced to John Gardiner, the resort’s designer, and was offered the position amongst a field of 70 other candidates. Harry and his wife Judy have always been generous, and not only supported me during my initial funding phase, but also donated the use of the tennis facility at the resort to help with my ongoing fundraising efforts through our annual Pro-Am. I feel very fortunate that the new owners of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa have continued the legacy of giving back by donating the tennis facilities for our annual fundraising Pro-Am.”

There are currently 150 children enrolled in free tennis lessons at the SES Tennis Center, which has grown since inception in 2004 to include four regulation-size tennis courts. The tennis facility includes two hard-court surfaces and two clay-court surfaces, as well as lights for evening practice and competitions. Visit sestenniscenter.org for further details on the tennis center.

A highlight of the two-day event is a Sponsor Party on the evening of Friday, Sept. 14, 6-9:30 p.m., that will be hosted in Rancho Santa Fe. The Sponsor Party includes a buffet dinner, beverages, coffee bar and entertainment by keyboard artist Mark Knoll. Reservations may be purchased for $105 per person to attend the Sponsor Party. The tennis tournament will be held the following day at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa on Sept. 15, from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and includes a barbeque and trophy presentation for a price of $85 per person (children under 10 are welcomed at $40 per child for this family-friendly event). A combined price of $185 per adult is available to attend both events.

The Founders of the nonprofit organization, Eduardo and Amelia Sanchez (who are organizing the fundraising event in coordination with co-founder, Eva Stimson) officially dedicated the project on June 4, 2004, in honor of their deceased infant son, Sean Eduardo.

For more information regarding the nonprofit SES Tennis Center, or to purchase reservations to attend the events, please call (858) 864-8536 or email emsmci@aol.com. Details on the additional beneficiary, Empty Cradle, may be located at www.emptycradle.org.

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