During the first 5 years of SquashSmarts, I championed their program from afar. In the more recent 5 years, starting in 2007, I became a rampant fan! I got to know Steve Gregg, its fearless leader, and the rest of his team. This is when I began to more thoroughly understand SquashSmarts' gift for providing academic support along with the experiences for their kids that would expand their view of the world. My feelings turned to passion when Steve and I talked about using my film production skills to create a video exclusively interviewing the middle school and high school SquashSmarts kids. This opportunity expanded my vision of and passion for SquashSmarts by getting to know the kids better. Hearing how they feel about SquashSmarts in their own words and the influence SquashSmarts has had on them is so meaningful. It can be viewed on YouTube : youtube.com/watch?v=uqbMLSs-RDY. I love and respect SquashSmarts and am so impressed with the kids and the team that nurtures their individual gifts. Since producing the film, I try to volunteer as much as possible and feel better about myself every time I walk away.
Squashsmarts is a wonderful program that helps children be constructive, provides a safe space for after school activities, and combines learning with fun and teambuilding. The squash portion really teaches teamwork and people skills, and provides a healthy dose of exercise as well. Definitely a program that needs to stay around for a long time!
Squash Smarts is an amazing program, I have only volunteered with them on a few occasions, but it is clear that they have a huge impact on the children they work with. You can tell the children truly enjoy being at Squash Smarts and look forward to their practices and games.
I have volunteered as an academic mentor for over a year at SquashSmarts and absolutely love it. First, the program is structured and disciplined, providing a much needed balance in a poorly performing school district, to some of the neediest children. 100% of their students graduate - not to mention how many have gone on to college, in a city with a high drop out rate. Besides the academics and tutoring, the staff goes above and beyond to be positive influences in the lives of these children including weekend activities, and field trips. All of the students attend some form of summer camp - thanks to the very hard work of the staff, calling in all of their connections. The other thing I love about the program is how they partner with schools/teachers, requesting copies of report cards, helping students apply to high school/college, being able to provide specialized homework assistance and much more. The program works really hard to expose the students to successful role models, and works hard to bring in a diverse array of volunteers from all over the community. SquashSmarts is well organized, well managed and a great place to volunteer. I love knowing that my few hours a week are really making a difference, and I look forward to Thursdays every week. Keep up the good work! 1-2-3 GO SQUASHSMARTS!
I had volunteered with SquashSmarts for a number of years and found the organization to be well managed, a good and effective operation that helped inner city youth succeed. The model was good and the instructors well versed in helping this population. I have recommended this organization many times and would again. Rick LeFevre
I used to work with SS kids as a staff member and have only occasionally volunteered over the past 6 years. What strikes me most about this program is not its focus on academics or its providing exercise opportunities through the sport of squash. Rather, what I love most is that everyone involved feels as though they have a second family, a community of support, laughter, genuine respect and yes, love. I recruited a 7th grade student years ago, saw her through middle school and high school, shared her high school years, stood as a proud "parent " at her graduation, thrilled with her on her journey through Haverford College which included a semester at Emory and a stint in Ghana, then stood again at her college graduation. This young woman and I had lunch last month as I hugged her and sent her off to Lesotho for her adventure in the Peace Corps. It is she who has taught me more than I could have ever taught her or any of the other kids. Squash smarts makes these relationships possible.
SquashSmarts serves some of the neediest youth in the city of Philadelphia. The staff is exceptional in its commitment to the students who are enrolled, and the board is dedicated to the cause. I have volunteered there as tutor for the past three years, and the students i have come to know (and love) are motivated to do their best. SquashSmarts is a beacon in a neighborhood that is too often overlooked.
It is clear to me that SquashSmarts has brought an innovative, useful, and needed program to young people in the inner city. SS does not serve only Hunting Park children -- I tutored one bright young girl, Tatiana, who came all the way from West Philly, taking a few different forms of public transportation to get to the Lenfest Center. Few children in the city have space to play sports other than b-ball; SS introduces a new, very competitive sport that the children and teens seem particularly suited for. And of course, the staff I worked with were all dedicated and personable -- but firm when they had to be. SS is a community program with a positive impact that is well worth supporting
I absolutely love SquashSmarts. It has been like a 2nd home to me in Philadelphia. As a senior in college, I have undoubtedly experienced struggles, joys, triumphs, and failures. Considering all of this, SquashSmarts has served two purposes, simultaneously. It was (and still is!) a safe haven and a place to bond with wonderful individuals. I have always believed that age is not a number. This cliche definitely rings true when I think of SquashSmarts. Despite the age level (middle-school aged), I have developed genuine friendships with many of my tutees. This avenue allows me to understand each student's grasp of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-determination. This three-pronged topic is highly important for me. I myself have had to confront differing aspects of this situation. So, it only makes sense that I feel so strongly about helping others in this department. Because there are certain disparities in our upbringings, I must force myself to not only be sympathetic, but step inside each student's shoes. I must work hard to identify with their unique struggles. Often, I am saddened that the students must face family deaths or home displacement, among other uncontrollable situations. Those are circumstances that I have not had to overcome. In closing, adversity is a huge word in my vocabulary. SquashSmarts and all who work for its cause strive to either alleviate adversity's symptoms or dare I say, eradicate it in totality. Either way, I am proud to be part of Squash Smarts. It makes me and my friends feel strong and happy!
Squashsmarts is a wonderful organization! I have had the privledge of working at a volunteer for a few years and have had a phenomenal experience. Squashsmarts provides squash, tutoring and community service opportunities for middle and high school students in north and west Philadelphia. Squashsmarts is led by a devoted and engaging staff that really make the program a fantastic success.