When Doris Obih grew up in inner-city Los Angeles, she loved tennis. Her family didn’t have the financial means to support this passion, but a program called Hope For Kids opened a door by funding costs like instruction, equipment and tournament fees. More importantly, it provided Obih with authority figures she felt comfortable trusting.

Though that resource eventually disappeared, its impact was strong enough to inspire Obih to recreate the model with the 40 Love Foundation in Inglewood, Calif. Having relied on tennis as a safe haven to escape the reality of her surroundings, Obih wanted to ensure that other kids had the same outlet at their fingertips.

Launched in 2016, Obih and her team have afforded more than 800 children the chance to pick up a racquet and play. For just $35 a month, kids who show an interest in pursuing tennis receive 10 sessions. Scholarships are available to those in need, and free equipment is readily accessible.

Obih’s leadership and vision recently served notice in a special way. Last week, the Kelly Clarkson Show profiled her story in-depth during an 11-minute appearance. Featured on Clarkson’s “Rad Human” segment, Obih’s outlook on life shone through when she explained the metaphor behind her foundation.

“It just depends on how you view life. Do you view life that you’re up 40-Love? Are things going your way? Do you keep it pushing? Do you fight, fight, fight and just keep on going?,” she said. “Or, do you look at life when you’re down Love-40? When things don’t go your way, do you just stop and give up or fight to get back in a game and win?”

Responded Clarkson, “I think that’s the difference between a victim and a survivor.”


The initiative, spurred on in its early years through donations and partnership with the USTA Foundation, is a true full-circle moment for Obih. One of the instructors she connected with while participating in Hope For Kids took up her offer on returning to Edward Vincent Jr. Park for this reboot.

Shared Terry Davis, “It was a Godsend to go back into an area where I grew up at. She was a tough little girl. Just a lot of fire, a lot of determination.”

Obih was brought to tears when her first student Ethan Henderson shared his story of struggle and how her mentorship, both on the court and with his studies, has changed course for the better. When asked what he wanted to say to her, Henderson began with, “Where do I start?”

He continued, “I appreciate you with all my heart. One day, I hope I can repay you for everything you’ve done for me.”

As Obih put it, she wanted somebody to see her when she was a child. Davis was that person. In a heartwarming nugget he revealed, Davis will one day walk Obih down the aisle when her wedding day comes.

Today, the fiery little girl has blossomed into that influential figure for Henderson and countless others. A glowing testament to how life can go if treated like the score is 40-Love, it's no surprise for this rad human.