Spotlight of the Week: Daniel Gale


Courtesy of Daniel Gale

Daniel is all smiles during his visit to Cuba.

Julia Engelhardt via Daniel Gale

This week, Type One sat down with junior Daniel Gale to learn more about his community service organization in Cuba, Havana Tennis. Through his countless hours of work and effort, Daniel has been able to make an impact on the community of Havana while pursuing one of his passions, tennis.


Type One: What is your project and what impact has it had on the community?

Daniel Gale: My project, Havana Tennis, sources and delivers string and overgrip for tennis rackets to the junior tennis team in Havana, Cuba. The Havana junior tennis team is talented and motivated, but they, unfortunately, don’t have the funds to keep enough string and overgrip on hand: resources essential to our sport.  


T1:  What is the goal of your project?

DG: My goal is that every hardworking and passionate tennis player in Cuba gets the resources to compete to their full potential.  Tennis rackets will last indefinitely but racket string and racket overgrip need to be replaced frequently.  Due to their lack of string and overgrip, the Havana junior team competes at a significant disadvantage.  By delivering the supplies that players like me in the United States take for granted to the players in Cuba, Havana Tennis intends to close this gap.


T1: How did you get involved with this project idea?

DG: When I first visited Cuba with my family, I had the opportunity to meet the Cuban junior tennis team.  I realized that, like me, the players are driven and passionate about tennis.  Unfortunately, however, because of their government and policies, they don’t have access to essential resources.  I couldn’t believe it when I heard that players remove used overgrip from their rackets, wash them in the sink, and lay them in the sun to dry for later reuse.  I knew I had to do something.  I was determined to come up with a way to provide the team with strings and overgrip, supplies that no competitive tennis player should have to worry about.


T1: When did you begin your work in Cuba?

DG: Right after our US policy permitted travel to Cuba in 2016.


T1: What inspired you to get involved in this issue?

DG: The Cuban Junior Tennis team is my inspiration. They step onto the tennis courts each day with enthusiasm, determination, and hope while enduring all of the hardship that comes with their country’s government and policies.  They take tennis very seriously, approaching their sport with discipline and focus.  But, for them, tennis is also an outlet to forget about the world and exert yourself while interacting with your fellow tennis players.  


T1: How has this service impacted you?

DG: It has impacted me on many levels.  As Americans, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.  We live in a free country, a democracy with endless opportunities for all. It’s up to all of us to take advantage of these opportunities. In contrast, the Cuban people can study to become doctors, engineers, or musicians.  Yet, they will never be able to own their own business or practice.  Virtually everything belongs to the government. Talking to the people and learning about their struggles made me realize how lucky we are to be Americans.  Additionally, I have been impacted by the positive results of my efforts.  It has shown me that putting in work, taking initiative, and spearheading new ideas really pays off.  After researching to find fairly priced and good quality string and reaching out to others for advice and support, I successfully launched Havana Tennis.  This experience proved to me that anyone can make a difference just by putting in effort.


T1: Do you have any future plans to expand this community service project?

DG: Yes. Most of our donations have come from individuals with some connection to tennis.  There are a significant number of Cuban American businesses located in South Florida that I have yet to reach.  Although these businesses may have no connection to tennis, I’m confident that they will be sympathetic to the hardship that these junior tennis players face.  Hopefully, this translates into more donations to Havana Tennis!


T1: How can people get involved in your project?

DG: Visit my website at to learn more about my project and make a donation. All proceeds go to the purchase of string and overgrip.


Daniel’s organization has clearly made an impact on many young tennis players in Cuba and will only continue to expand.  This project shows how students can take their passion and turn it into something that reaches beyond just themselves.  Pine Crest will continue to support students, such as Daniel, who drive change in the world.