Squash into Summer with Mission Squash and support this year’s summer camp! This year’s programming will include SAT courses, college access workshops, enrichment and volunteer trips, project-based learning, and of course, tons of squash and fun! Donate Now

What is Squash?

Invented in England in the 1860s, squash is a physically and intellectually demanding racket sport for two people, played on an indoor court with four walls. Hit with a strung racket, a hot rubber ball ricochets around at up to 170mph, as the two players try to play a winning shot or force their opponent into making an error. Players can burn in excess of 1000 calories per hour – according to Forbes Magazine, “more than any other sport.” Squash is played by more than 20 million people in 188 countries.

Why Squash?

Until recently in the United States, squash was played almost exclusively at prep schools, elite universities, and exclusive clubs. The sport has become more widely played over the past few decades, and its strong ties to top-tier educational institutions including the Ivy League. There are more than 70 colleges in the US that offer study opportunities for squash scholar athletes. Squash is uniquely effective as an after-school program ‘hook’ because it is:
  • A physically and intellectually demanding sport
  • Played by graduates and professionals
  • Growing in the U.S., with 1+ million players (and 500 in Houston!)
  • A game that places a high value on sportsmanship
  • A proven pathway to prestigious high schools and universities

What is “Urban” Squash?

Urban Squash is a proven youth development model created 25 years ago by Harvard University graduate and professional squash player Greg Zaff. The model combines training in the sport of squash with long-term academic support, mentoring, community service and college placement for public school elementary through high school students in under-served communities. The year-round, 5-day-a-week programming takes place after school, on the weekends and in the summer. Following an ‘inch wide, mile deep’ approach to youth development, urban squash programs create meaningful and life-long experiences, lessons, and support for each student, from the time they enter the program through their college graduation. Over $25 million in college scholarships have been awarded to graduates of the 20+ Urban Squash programs in North America and there are now affiliate programs across the globe in the UK, India and Columbia. Learn More

Boldly Go.

By combining intensive academic tutoring, mentoring, travel and college support with training in the elite sport of squash, we give students the support systems they need to stay in school, access college and succeed in life.


We create a college-bound culture that empowers students to close the opportunity gap


We provide a safe, structured space outside school hours that promotes lifelong study, exercise and nutritional habits


We nurture the growth of children into well-rounded adults equipped to lead

Urban Squash as the vehicle

A proven national model

2,500 urban squash students enrolled in 25 urban squash programs across the US

… with a unique hook

An elite sport played by graduates and professionals serves as a pathway to 150+ prestigious schools and universities

… and an impact so deep

$25 million college scholarships won by urban squash students

… it can change entire communities

95%of urban squash graduates enroll in four-year college degrees

“It reinforced for me how favorably Urban Squash programs stack up in terms their effectiveness in altering the course of young people’s lives.”
Michelle Obama

Our Impact >>Why Squash?

The Scholarship is an urban youth development program that serves at-need students age 11 to 24 with intensive, long-term academic tutoring, mentoring, squash training and access to college placement, travel and enrichment opportunities.

The program runs year-round: after school, at weekends and over summer, and is free-of-charge to families demonstrating socio-economic eligibility.

The Scholarship Program >>

Equipping to end the achievement gap

  • 100+ hours academic tutoring, homework and study skills support every year
  • Texas state-aligned individualized learning
  • Extensive calendar of academic enrichment activities

The vehicle for discipline, wellness and disruption

  • 100+ hours squash and fitness training, tournaments and team matches every year
  • Squash Skills and Fitness curriculum for all abilities
  • Nutrition curriculum and family workshops

Common bonds that nurture personal value

  • Scholars are matched with career mentors of similar interests
  • Mentors become a consistent source of academic, personal and professional support
  • Support continues through high school into college years

Hand placement in opportunity networks

  • Local and national college and private high school campus visits, summer camp placements and workshops
  • SSAT/SAT prep, personal advocacy with admissions directors and mock interview experience
  • Family college finance workshops, scholarship applications and ongoing support through college