As one of 11 children, Bernard grew up in an impoverished area of Jacksonville. Despite significant life challenges, he persevered and recently graduated high school with honors. Bernard credits much of his success to being involved since second grade in the Tennis-n-Tutoring program at MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation (MWYF).
"I’ve had a lot of positive role models and mentors at the Foundation,” said Bernard. “In a way, it’s like a second family. They remind me to stay positive and focus on my future. A lot of my friends have gotten into some trouble, but being a self-starter and having the Foundation has really helped me."
At MWYF, children and youth receive after-school academic assistance, mentoring, fitness activities and life skills in a safe, enriching environment.