For sports enthusiast Lee Kuzi the Israel Tennis Centers combined the best of both worlds… athletics and social development. From the age of 4 she has been into sports of all kinds, from swimming and gymnastics to cycling and, of course, tennis. But it was the other aspects of her time at the Nussdorf – Mark Families Israel Tennis Center in Jaffa that really molded her into what she is today.
“I grew up in Holon & later in Tel Aviv – Jaffa, but the closest ITC facility was in Jaffa, so my parents started taking me there when I was only 6 years old. I ended up playing there through high school.”
Although Lee was not part of the ITC’s At-Risk Program, she vividly recalls playing alongside children from all backgrounds and circumstances. And this exposure taught her all about the importance of meeting and respecting people from all walks of life.
“I remember the coaches teaching us important life lessons like balance, knowing that life has limits, discipline and getting along like one big happy family. The point was that the moment I walked into the center we were all the same regardless of where we came from. We were all taught to believe in ourselves.”
That lesson has been a huge part of Lee’s success story to this day. Lee continued to play tennis at the ITC – Jaffa through high school. After completing her military training with the Israel IDF, she ventured to the United States to study, earning a degree from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Lee launched her own design firm called KUZI DESIGN, which she describes as a “modern, innovative and groundbreaking interior design studio.” She act as a consultant to Real Estate firms as a Senior Design and Project Manager, followed by a successful stint at NELSON Architecture as a Senior Designer, providing design services to some of the largest cooperates and real estate firms in the City and abroad.
Despite her very busy life, Lee still finds time to return to Israel to visit her family and stop by the tennis center to meet up with old friends and make new ones. Back in the States she also gives back to the ITC by staying involved in matters affecting the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation as a full-time New York Regional Board member.
“The ITC has meant so much more than tennis to so many children over the years. I am fortunate to be included in that group. I would not be where I am today with the values and life lessons taught me there.”