Beyond the Game: 'There's no limitation to what you can do'
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) —
A Little Rock girl's improbable win in a national essay contest proves "there's no limitation to what you can do."
11-year-old Ashstyn Patillo spends afternoons at Our House, a shelter with after-school programs for low income families. She lives with her grandmother, Cassandra Booker. Her mom is working to overcome what Booker describes as "mental and emotional" issues, as well as abusive relations.
"I never would've thought we'd be here but we've grown and some amazing things have come out of it," Booker said.
At Our House, Ashstyn fell in love with tennis, thanks to free clinics provided by volunteers with the USTA-Arkansas.
"I want to be like Serena Williams," she said.
Ashstyn is also a great writer, so she entered a national essay contest for an all-expense paid trip to the Winston-Salem Open. She was one of only nine kids to win.
"I was like, oh my gosh, I was so happy," Ashstyn said. "I was like, for real? Are you sure? Did she get the names mixed up?"
Ashstyn flew on an airplane for the first time and experienced the inner-workings of a tennis tournament. She saw her first professional action and met many of the athletes.
"She was writing, looking, [asking] 'can I take pictures of the clouds? Can I write about this?'"
"There's nothing impossible," Booker said.
"It doesn't matter what it is or where you've come from or what you've been through. There's no limitation to what you can do."