Urban Squash uses the collegiate sport of squash as a hook for engaging underserved students in intensive after-school academic tutoring, mentoring, community service. It provides a platform for accessing unique high school and college placement opportunities through the squash network.
The year-round, five-days-per-week programming takes place after school, on the weekends and throughout summer. Following an “inch-wide, mile-deep” approach to youth development, Urban Squash programs create meaningful and life-long experiences for each individual student from the time they enter the program in 6th grade through their college graduation.
Nationwide, programs have a 99% graduation rate with over $45 million in college scholarships awarded to Urban Squash alumni.
The Urban Squash model was first developed 25 years ago by Harvard graduate and professional squash player Greg Zaff, who wrote a thesis called “Bringing Squash Down from the Ivory Tower.” Using the principles from his thesis, Zaff brought Urban Squash to life by founding SquashBusters in Boston, Massachusetts. That first Urban Squash program has since enrolled over 3000 students, and there are now over 25 programs across the United States, as well as international affiliates in Columbia, the UK and India. Mission Squash is the first and only Urban Squash program in Texas.
Many Urban Squash programs are affiliates of the Squash and Education Alliance, a national body that helps new programs establish credible programming, governance and fiscal stability, as well as sharing best practices between programs.