Tennis Champion Finds Her True Calling Helping Sick Children
Sometimes those that have had great success at a young age, decide to do something different with their lives after their initial success has faded. This has been the case for young actors, musicians, and sports stars. This is certainly the case for the tennis star Andrea.
Early Life of Andrea Jaeger:
Andrea was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs to hard-working parents. At an early age, she showed great tennis prowess and decided to pursue that as her career path. While still attending Stevenson High School, she was ranked the top player in the under-18 age group. At the age of 15, she became the youngest player to be seeded at Wimbledon. That record was held until 1990 and broken by Jennifer Capriati.
Jaeger played against some of the top players at the time. In 1982, she defeated Chris Evert, and in 1983, she defeated Billie Jean King. She won 13 U.S. national junior titles, including the 1979 Orange Bowl and 1979 Boca Raton matches.
Despite her success, tennis was never her main passion. While on tour, she began visiting hospitals and talking with patients. When she was sidelined by an injury in 1985 at the age of 19, she decided she wanted to do something more and went to college, where she received a degree in theology. By 1987, she decided to commit her life to public service and philanthropy and even became a member of the Anglican Order of Preachers in the Episcopal Church.
A Life of Giving Back:
Tennis star Jaeger found her life was full when she was helping others and gave her pro tennis earnings to causes she felt were worthwhile.
Because of her history of visiting sick patients during her tennis tours, Jaeger realized that she wanted to devote her life to helping those in need and sick have a better quality of life. She wanted to be a leader, and develop programs that would help those in need. She decided it was time to put a program in place that was dedicated to improving the quality of life and offering long-term care for children with cancer or in need.
The Start of Little Star Foundation:
Nearly 37 years ago, Andrea founded the Little Star Foundation. A foundation that offers award-winning programs to children, families, and communities, all free of charge. The organization provides long-term care for children with cancer and offers financial assistance and a variety of other programs.
Here are some of the programs offered by the Little Star Foundation:
- Educational scholarships: The Jeff Crawford Educational Scholarship offers education to children with cancer and helps them go to accredited colleges.
- Sports, arts, and equine therapy programs: Serious, life-altering health issues can force a child to grow up too fast. It causes great stress on the family who are trying to rise to the challenge of caring for an ill child. Little Star offers award-winning sports arts and equine therapy programs that enhance the lives of ill children, all free of charge.
- Medical care, hospital, and outreach support: Often, families of ill children do not know where to turn, or how to find the best medical treatment for their children. Little Star Foundation works with hospitals, medical teams, and emergency responders to find the best care and ongoing support for those that are ill and their families.
- Financial support: Little Star Foundation offers financial support to lessen the financial burden of families of sick children. Program participants can be eligible to receive some basic living, life-enhancing, and life-saving expenses.
First Service: Following God’s Calling and Finding Life’s Purpose:
Twenty years ago, Andrea Jaeger wrote a book called: First Service: Following God’s Calling and Finding Life Purpose, which follows Jaegers’ path of philanthropy and religion. In the book, she talks about her retirement from tennis in 1985 and how she discovered her true calling and greater purpose.
She started the non-profit 501©(3) Little Star Foundation to improve the lives of children who are sick, in need, suffering from mental, physical, and emotional help, and the family members looking to get through just one more day.
The organization has received numerous awards and accolades. She said that this is her greatest accomplishment.
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