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Peter Gunter – Neighbor of the Week

Peter Gunter – Charlottesville

Tell us about your volunteer activities.
Twice a week, I run a tennis program at the Westhaven Community Center as a volunteer with the City of Promise.  We play using a miniature, “Quickstart” net at the community center. Last Fall, I started to take some of the more advanced players to the tennis courts at Tonsler Park.  Now that it’s too cold to play, I stop by the center twice a week to help some of the kids with their homework or practice chess. We’ll start playing tennis again in the Spring.

What inspires you to volunteer?
The kids inspire me.  I’m privileged to be a part of their lives.  Also, I realize how fortunate I was to grow up in Charlottesville where there were many adults—teachers and volunteers–who greatly enriched my childhood. At the same time, I know a lot of kids weren’t as fortunate. I’m afraid it’s a situation that hasn’t changed enough. Running the tennis program might be a small way to address that disparity.  And finally, I’m inspired to volunteer by the memory of my mother, Mary Alice Gunter, who taught in the city school system and served on the city council back in the 80s.

If your volunteer work could make one long-lasting change, what would you want it to be?
I’d like to get some of the kids to improve enough to play competitively, on the high school team and in tournaments. Tennis is also a great way to learn related skills: improving through practice, learning to compete and learning sportsmanship.

What is a little-known fact about you?
I’m a playwright and lived in New York City for 25 years. Since I moved back to Charlottesville in 2007, I’ve had a few plays produced at Live Arts downtown.

Tell us what makes Charlottesville/Albemarle special to you.
I love Charlottesville for many reasons: our school system, the University, the view of Blue Ridge in the distance, the deep, evolving sense of history, and a spirit of goodwill created by organizations like the City of Promise.