Mission Squash follows a proven urban youth development model called Urban Squash.
What is Urban Squash?
Urban Squash combines the sport of squash with academics, mentoring, community service, and college placement for public school elementary through high school students in under-served communities. Year-round programming takes place every day 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 lifelong experiences, lessons, and support for each student, from the time they enter the program through their college graduation.
The model was developed 25 years ago by a Harvard graduate and professional squash player, Greg Zaff, who wrote a thesis entitled “Bringing Squash Down from the Ivory Tower.” He went on to found SquashBusters in Boston MA: the first Urban Squash program, which has since enrolled over 650 students. There are now over 25 programs across the US, as well as international affiliates in Columbia, the UK and India.
Mission Squash is the only urban squash program in the state of Texas.
What have the results been?
25 programs world-wide including in Columbia, the UK and India
$15 million invested in Urban Squash programs annually
2000 students enrolled
$40 million in high school and college scholarships awarded to Urban Squash students
96% graduation rate from high school
166 students have won scholarships to selective private, independent and boarding schools across the country
“It reinforced for me how favorably Urban Squash programs stack up in terms their effectiveness in altering the course of young people’s lives.”
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A national umbrella organization, the Squash and Education Alliance, or SEA, exists to help start new Urban Squash programs, and share best practices between them. It also runs national tournaments for urban squash students held at Harvard University, Williams and Amherst colleges and in New York City, and in the summer provides scholarships to academic camps at elite private schools like Taft, Miss Porter’s, Phillip Exeter Academy and Hotchkiss.
The annual SEA Citizenship tour is an 8-day academic and athletic trip from New York City to Washington DC with a stop in Philadelphia, and seeks to inspire students across the country to be civically engaged, to become informed citizens and to highlight the importance of public service within the country’s urban squash programs.
Highlights of previous Citizenship Tours include meetings with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Former MA Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Al Franken, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Congressman John Lewis and tours of the New York Times Building, Capitol Building, White House and Independence Hall.
[link to NUSEA & logo]
Is Mission Squash a chapter organization?
No. Although we use the network of urban squash programs extensively for support, advice and of course to provide our students with amazing national travel and competition opportunities, we are not governed by SEA. We maintain our own budget, Board of Directors, staff and 501(c)(3) status.