StreetSquash was founded in September 1999 as the second urban squash program in the United States. A comprehensive youth enrichment program, StreetSquash combines academic tutoring, squash instruction, community service, college preparation, leadership development, and mentoring for young people ages 11-24. What began as an after-school program with 24 middle school students and 2 staff members has expanded to serve nearly 300 participants from 6th grade through college graduation and entry into the workforce. For the first nine years, StreetSquash ran programs all over New York City: study sessions and squash practices at Columbia University, the Harvard Club, and the Westside YMCA; college prep and literacy enrichment at Thurgood Marshall Academy; squash matches and cultural exposure all throughout the five boroughs. Then, in November 2008, StreetSquash opened a permanent home at the SL Green StreetSquash Center with 8 ASB squash courts, 4 classrooms, a library, and the organization's administrative offices. This new facility allowed for the creation of the PE in Public Schools Program as well as a new relationship with Columbia University, as the home courts for the Men's and Women's Varsity Squash teams.
Founder George Polsky always says it could have been anything, but squash is the sport he plays. Squash is the hook to entice students to join the program. The real work is in the classroom, preparing students to succeed in college and as young adults who give back to their communities.
StreetSquash's mission is to provide consistent, long-term and reliable support to the children, families and schools in Harlem. By exposing these children to a broad range of experiences and by maintaining the highest standards, StreetSquash aims to help each child realize his or her academic, athletic, and personal potential. Our goals are:
To improve academic performance
To develop an ethic of hard work and commitment
To boost self-confidence
To build healthy habits and to maintain a healthy lifestyle
To ensure young people earn a college degree
To support ongoing personal and professional development
The original component of StreetSquash, the After School Program serves 180 students in 6th-12th grade from Harlem partner schools. Participants are recruited as middle schoolers and commit to four days of programming per week through high school graduation, making up teams of 20-30 boys and girls by grade. Beginning in 9th grade, the College Access & Success Program is a core component of participation. In addition, each student engages in all of the following program areas:
Academic sessions at StreetSquash focus on homework help, development of study skills and consistent work habits, and individualized academic support for each participant. StreetSquash's Academic Directors oversee student progress over the course of many years in partnership with parents, tutors, and classroom teachers, making weekly visits to partner schools to assess student performance, behavior, and their unmet educational needs.
After School Tutoring Sessions
Twice weekly individual homework help and academic support.
Friday curriculum-based instruction for middle schoolers on a wide variety of topics including creative writing, robotics, forensic science, and Emotional Imprint.
One-on-one sessions for struggling students and those who want extra support in any subject for the state Regents exams.
Squash is an indoor racquet sport played all over the world, but with limited exposure in the United States. At StreetSquash, almost all students are introduced to squash for the first time when they join the program. They develop a love for the game and work hard to hone their skills through regular lessons, training sessions, and competition. By the time StreetSquashers are in high school, many are competing in regularly scheduled matches and tournaments, and a growing number of graduates are playing squash at the collegiate level with the College Squash Association.
Three or four sessions per week focused on improving skills and tactics through drills and conditioning games.
An essential component of squash training and a central aspect of every practice.
Opportunities for team and individual match play against local schools and other programs in the National Urban Squash + Education Association as well as in conjunction with US Squash and NY Squash.
All StreetSquashers are required to complete at least three service-learning projects each year in order to develop an understanding of the needs of their community and the impact of serving others. Students give back in a variety of areas and are always looking for new opportunities. Past partners have included:
Global Youth Service Day
American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Walk
AIDS Walk New York
New York Food Bank
Million Trees NYC
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Food Bank for New York City
Carrie McCracken TRUCE Community Garden
As they grow into young adults, StreetSquashers are encouraged to pursue leadership opportunities, in order to develop valuable skills for the future as well as to impact their peers and the program overall. Although not required, many students choose to engage in leadership development opportunities:
Student Leadership Council
Comprised of Co-Chairs, Secretary, and Team Captains, these students are tour guides, ambassadors for the organization, leaders among their peers, and the organizers of such yearly events as Global Youth Service Day and the Street Squash Olympics.
High school students are encouraged to volunteer on court and in the classroom with middle schoolers. In the summer, they also have the opportunity to act as counselors in the Summer Discovery Program.
High school students volunteer to work with a middle school buddy and to help them transition to life as a teenager and prepare for high school.
Trained mediators assist their peers with resolving conflicts without adult involvement.
College Access, Success & Alumni Support
The College Access, Success & Alumni Support Program, a core component of the After School Program, begins in high school to create pathways to college for StreetSquash's high school participants. Upon graduation from high school the program provides college counseling and support services through college graduation and beyond. For additional details on the College Success program, view the 2017 – 2018 College Success Profile.
StreetSquash's College Access Program begins in 9th grade for all StreetSquash students. The program provides intensive support and guidance throughout all stages of the college admissions process, helping build awareness in the early stages, so that students have the opportunity to attend a college that fits their educational and personal needs.
Students attend a weekly College Prep session focused on ACT prep, essay writing, and college guidance.
Every year StreetSquash visits a range of colleges in New York City and throughout New York State and the northeast. By the time students graduate from high school, they will have visited 12-15 colleges. In addition, college admissions officers come to Harlem to meet with StreetSquash students throughout the year and at the annual StreetSquash College Fair in May.
College Prep Mentors
In 12th grade, each StreetSquasher is paired with a College Prep Mentor. College Prep Mentors meet weekly with students to support their college applications.
Participants and their families receive individualized support to build a college list, apply to a wide range of schools, complete financial aid applications, and choose the school that is the best fit.
College Success & Alumni Support
The College Success & Alumni Support Program is focused on supporting StreetSquash students through their post-secondary education and connecting them with educational and professional opportunities after completing high school. The program begins even before students are accepted into college, through career panels, mock interviews, and resume workshops.
The College Success team visits every college student on campus each semester. They help the students build relationships with advisors, deans, admissions officers, and squash coaches who are equipped to address individual student needs throughout the semester.
Beginning College Program
High school graduates participate in an intensive summer workshop for to prepare them for the expectations and realities of college life before they set foot in a college classroom or dorm.
During school vacations, StreetSquash conducts professional development workshops with our volunteers and corporate partners. The alumni work with their mentors and get matched with internship opportunities in a range of fields.
Throughout the year StreetSquash hosts two annual alumni squash tournaments, monthly 'family dinners' and various events during school breaks to keep StreetSquash alumni connected to the program.
The StreetSquash Social Work Program works with students and families to improve and deepen the services and support that StreetSquash can provide. Recognizing that participants and their families need more than just academic and athletic support to be successful, StreetSquash social workers aim to address social-emotional, mental health, and many others needs through individual and small group counseling, referrals for outside services, and a variety of programs for students and families.
Individual and Group Counseling
Support for current students and alumni, focusing on healthy relationships, identity, leadership, race, sexuality, and social emotional support.
School Support & IEP Review
Ensures all students are supported in school, including focused action planning for those who are not on track for graduation or have special learning needs.
Monthly health workshops per team, focusing on sex education, nutrition, and body awareness.
For youth and families from health to housing and financial support and referrals.
Encourages students and staff to de-escalate conflict and increase communication skill.
Monthly meeting for parents to learn about and discuss StreetSquash updates and events.
Semester-long parent group focused on helping parents build stronger families by developing the inner strengths, life skills, and networks of resources they need to succeed. Parent Journey is open for registration each fall and spring for current or alumni parents or guardians of StreetSquash students.
Monthly meetings for StreetSquash fathers to stay active and involved in the StreetSquash community.
Each summer StreetSquash students gain exposure to a broad range of experiences outside Harlem through opportunities for middle school students to attend sleep-away camp and for high school students to explore college campuses, enhance their squash games, give back to other urban squash programs, travel to other countries and develop leadership skills and lifelong connections. Each year, StreetSquash continues to expand the offerings made available to students and to raise the bar for students to earn the opportunity to participate in these phenomenal experiences.
On-campus academic programs at leading educational institutions including Columbia University, Brown University, Syracuse University, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the University of Rochester.
Every year more than 40 StreetSquash students spend their summer away at camps like Camp Dudley, Camp Herrlich, and The Fresh Air Fund.
Intensive squash training programs at colleges and private schools with top-level junior players and coaches.
Urban Squash Exchanges
StreetSquash high school and college students volunteer at NUSEA programs across the country while benefitting from a chance to explore a new city.
Through squash and community service, StreetSquashers have traveled the globe to countries like England, Italy, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
A full-day experience for StreetSquash middle schoolers and their classmates at partner schools who are interested in trying out for the program.
disclaimer:pricing and availability subject to change.
StreetSquash’s mission is to provide consistent, long-term and reliable support to the children, families, and schools in Harlem & Newark. By exposing these children to a broad range of experiences and by maintaining the highest standards, StreetSquash aims to help each child realize his or her academic, athletic, and personal potential.