Squash Haven's mission is to enrich the educational and life opportunities for New Haven young people through long term, individualized, and intensive academic support and enrichment, squash instruction, service, and college placement and support.
The key to Squash Haven's success is our multi-faceted approach of year-round intense squash instruction, differentiated individual tutoring, group academic enrichment, and community service. In our first nine years, we have helped team members earn 42 national-level squash championships, 15 private-school scholarships, and over $800,000 annually in renewable financial aid grants and scholarships. Team members have also given over 4300 hours of service to the New Haven community. 100% of our first three senior classes have been accepted to or are students at four year colleges and universities.
Squash Haven's short term outcome goals include the enhancement of:
Squash Haven is one of eighteen member programs of NUSEA, the National Urban Squash and Education Association.
Our key strategies for student success:
- High standards for commitment (90% attendance minimum).
- High standards for academic performance with clearly articulated positive interventions for students who falter.
- High standards for athletic engagement.
- Daily emphasis on healthy habits with supplemental programming that furthers healthy lifestyles.
- Intensive instruction and individual relationships (400 hours/year, over 50 weekly volunteers).
- Close coordination with schools, families, and others that help foster student success.
Squash Haven has provided motivated, committed, and able New Haven students with life-changing opportunities since 2007. Our model is based on the leading examples of the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA) member programs in cities throughout the country. Since 1996, NUSEA member programs have provided rigorous, year-round, and longitudinal academic and athletic support to low-income urban youth. With 100% high school graduation and 93% four-year college matriculation rates for program participants across programs, other examples gave us the confidence that a similar model of middle school support would yield lasting results for young people in New Haven. Each urban squash's program includes academic support, competitive squash instruction, and community service. Participants in each member program are selected from school partners where at least 70% of students' families meet federal low-income thresholds. Formally, NUSEA provides criteria for membership, a formal evaluation process, competitive opportunities, and a flexible but highly successful model for youth development. Informally, NUSEA member programs, their boards, and their staff support our development of best practices and professional development.
Squash Haven's choice of the sport of squash as a comprehensive format for implementing sustainable, lasting change in the lives of low-income New Haven youth is deliberate. Squash is physically demanding and requires a high level of fitness; it is played at most of our country's top independent secondary schools, colleges, and universities; our students make explicit connections to academically rigorous high school and college environments from their first days in the program. NUSEA squash programs are very well known among high schools and universities and have an excellent track record of matriculating students. This makes squash, a sport historically inaccessible to low-income families, not only a unique means to obtaining an excellent education and a vehicle to healthy development, but also an empowerment model with far-reaching, sustainable, and measurable outcomes. In addition to external input from NUSEA member programs and other individual relationships our program has evolved as a function of experience and evaluation. In June 2014, our Board approved a three year strategic plan whose focus through 2017 will be on strengthening the program through investments in staffing and technology and transportation; building a strong system for supporting college students and working to ensure their college persistence and workforce readiness; and launching the Fund for Squash Haven, a million dollar quasi-endowment that will help further ensure our long term fiscal stability.
We actively work to engage school leaders and students' families. We interact with school leaders and teachers on an ongoing basis and have frequent, ongoing communication with families about student progress in addition to team celebrations involving families throughout the year including Culture Night, the Holiday party, and Family Tournament. We also recognize the merits of sustained partnerships with additional educational organizations, and have built relationships with academic and squash partners that allow us to help team members access additional opportunities. We provide the wraparound support that education reform initiatives have touted as being uniquely successful. In addition to the direct benefit of participation on team members, siblings and parents are positively empowered by our model. Our work is strengthened by staff expertise that includes top educators and squash coaches. We also rely on a strong and talented volunteer corps, most of whom are drawn from the Yale squash team and undergraduate student communities. Squash Haven team members study and learn their sport every day alongside some of the most talented student-athletes in the country. In addition to the strength of our program model and implementation, the program is well positioned because of the strength of our relationships with Yale Athletics and other supporters. We have a licensing agreement with Yale that gives us in kind access to classroom, office, and court space in addition to internet, photocopying, and other administrative support. Our in kind contributions, along with careful budgeting and cost management, make our costs per student among the lowest of NUSEA member programs.
Our top accomplishments from 2015-16 include the following:
· Team members enjoyed an average of 409 hours of programming, had 88% program attendance and 95% school attendance.
1) The most critical challenge we currently face is limited office, classroom, and court access; we have one office, two dedicated academic spaces, and we do not have court access from 4:15-6 from September through May and about ten weekends per year.
2) We do not have a van or any formal transportation. This limits the number of kids we can take to tournaments and matches.
3) We would like to continue to increase the number of New Haven residents on our Board. Specifically, we would like someone who is interested in committing to our Development locally.
Anyone who grew up playing a sport or participating on a team knows that some of life’s most valuable lessons can come through hitting a ball, encouraging a teammate, losing a tough match, or running sprints because you forgot your permission slip AGAIN. Squash Haven extends those lessons well beyond the courts to all aspects of our students’ lives. As we often say, Squash Haven is a family. The most important – and unique - component of the Squash Haven experience is our relationships. In a competitive non profit landscape where it would be easier to provide direct service to thousands, we have deliberately chosen to provide intensive and sustained long term support for low income urban students and their families. Why?
Because at Squash Haven, we believe in the importance of continuity in young peoples’ lives. We know that in order to succeed, young people need mentors and role models who believe in them unconditionally but who also demand their best. We know that in being known, accepted, and supported, young people are able to set ambitious but attainable goals. We also believe in the power of small communities to affect change. Students call us on weekends to ask for homework help, board members host students in their homes for away tournaments, volunteers give us feedback when they notice students struggling. Squash Haven makes it impossible to slip through the cracks because community exists and students are known at every level of our organization. By reframing the traditional roles of teacher, coach, and mentor, our students learn to believe in themselves and their futures. Students’ families, in turn, are empowered to be advocates in their childrens’ education and opportunities.
I have heard the criticism that squash is an elitist sport, and I want to address it here. Urban squash is changing the face of the game in the United States and, with that change, is providing opportunity and access to generations of low income urban students and their families. Students from New Haven public schools begin to call Yale a home away from home throughout their adolescent years; from their earliest days in the program, students gain access to a world that they might never otherwise enter into. Students travel to new cities and schools for tournaments and are exposed to different cultures and ideas regularly. Through daily programming and team bonding, they build friendships across race and class lines. And with each year at Squash Haven, they gain meaningful perspective on the importance of education through their own growth -- growth that is palpable, inspiring, and sustained over many years with our program.
Squash Haven has enjoyed an extremely successful first nine years. The successes are due in large part to the strong support of Yale (particularly the Squash Coach and the Athletics Department), generous support from the Board, and the outstanding leadership staff has shown over the years. We have achieved the objectives of a strategic plan that has allowed us to continue to strengthen the experience of our 100 team members in grades 5-12 in addition to our college alumni while building our long term financial reserves. Yale has encouraged our growth, our Board is committed, our staff is excited, and we will continue to need increased donor support to allow this great work to happen.
I have played squash for many years. It is a great form of physical and mental conditioning, it teaches sportsmanship, and, in a team format, it encourages teamwork and leadership. While most of our entering students are new to squash, they build friendships, within the program and with players from other urban program teams and from other schools. As they travel to tournaments, they become acquainted with different schools and cities, and learn about themselves in a competitive setting. We have two professional squash players on our Board who are engaged in the program and great role models for our students.
Our Board is committed to supporting a strong academic program, including public speaking as a life skill and to ensuring that the students engage in community service. We are committed to measuring the program's performance on a regular basis, and to delivering value to our donors.
There are many students in New Haven who could benefit from what Squash Haven offers, and yet there is little city funding for after-school programming. Through the generosity of Yale, our Board, and donors, we are helping our students achieve their potential, while overcoming some of the adversity many of them face. Our students are thriving at the high school – and now, college – levels, and they and their families continue to cite the positive role Squash haven has played in their development. . We seek the support of new donors, both financially and by providing time and services. The reward from helping these young students is enormous, and the friendships that donors form with the students, with the leadership team, and with other volunteers is an extra benefit. For current and potential squash players, there is an additional benefit-- getting to know and perhaps playing with professionals and outstanding amateurs as part of fund-raising benefits. Join us in our efforts -- you will enjoy the experience and help a great young student reach his full potential.
Team members come from a wide range of neighborhoods, with the highest percentages hailing from the Hill (20%), Fair Haven (17%), and Annex (12%). They attend 23 New Haven public schools, 1 Hamden school, and 4 independent schools; 19 program alumni are currently in college and 1 is doing a postgraduate year at Trinity Pawling. All students are selected as middle school students in the New Haven Public Schools.
Our Academic Program
provides literacy-based enrichment and individualized homework help. Our primary academic goals are academic
success and engagement, and, ultimately, placement into academically
competitive high schools and colleges. Daily academic programming is overseen by Academic
Director and New Haven Teach for America alumna Christi Elligers and Academic Coordinator Kyle Compton. In 5th and 6th
grades, students split between literacy enrichment
and homework help. In 7th and
8th grades, students spend the session on homework help and do enrichment once weekly. High school academic programming is four hours per week and includes homework help, college writing seminar, and college prep. Summer
academic programming for all ages focuses on weekly sessions designed to improve grammar, reading, and writing skills in addition to college preparation. A typical student to tutor ratio is 3:1 with
individual tutors assigned as needed.
· 100% of seniors accepted at 4 year colleges and are attending Central CT, Hamilton, Lafayette, and UCONN
· 96% school attendance, 91% program attendance, 88% team academic average
· 84% on track for New Haven Promise, 2 using scholarship
· 100% of rising 9th submitted magnet school applications; 10 team members attended independent schools; 36 were selected for summer programs including Center for Talented Youth, Choate, and Yale SCHOLARS
· Average of 180 hours of physical activity, 34 students ranked nationally and 1 as high as #12; 6 NUSEA national championships
· 745 hours of service, 88% did 10+ hours
· Over 90% of students/families reported that Squash Haven made a difference in the following ways: commitment to learning, desire to do well in school, preparation for future, identifying positive role models, positive relationships with adults, positive values, making good decisions, and overall development.
Our Squash Program consists of practices at Yale, team matches and tournaments. In 2013-14, team members competed in two National Urban Championships, the US Squash Middle and High School Championships, myriad US Squash tournaments, and in dual matches against other youth programs and schools. Students also have the opportunity to work with prominent squash players including former World #1 and Board member Natalie Grainger and top professionals through summer scholarships. Partnership with Yale's national caliber team allows students to learn the game with individualized instruction (2 or 3: 1 ratio). Our coaching staff includes: Executive Director Julie Greenwood, a three time All American and former Williams College Head Coach; Squash Director John Dewitt, a former Hamilton College #1; Assistant Coach Owen Butler, a former captain at Cornell University; all Yale varsity players; and other local volunteers.
· OHigh school team members' GPA is higher than middle school team members
Executive Director Julie Greenwood came to Squash Haven from Williams College (MA), where she served as Assistant Professor of Physical Education, Women’s Squash Coach, Women’s Tennis Coach, Associate Athletic Director, and Acting Senior Woman Administrator. Julie’s squash teams at Williams always ranked between 6th and 9th in the country. Her tennis teams qualified for the NCAA Division III championships every year, winning the first-ever back to back titles in 2001 and 2002. In addition, Greenwood was a first-year academic advisor and oversaw NCAA Compliance and Championships hosting.
Greenwood has a longstanding interest in and commitment to youth, education, and community outreach. She spent six summers leading outdoor trips for middle and high school students and is a former board member of the Greylock ABC (A Better Chance) program as well as former community service coordinator for the Williams athletic department. Greenwood has also been a GED tutor for adults and former inmates.
Greenwood is a 1996 Williams graduate in History and Psychology. As an athlete she was a two-time NCAA Division III national doubles champion (tennis) and a three-time All-American in both tennis and squash. She was also the recipient of the Purple Key Award, given annually to the outstanding graduating male and female athlete, and was recently named as one of the top 30 athletes in Williams' last 30 years. She received her Masters in Education from Stanford in 2003.
Squash Haven’s partnerships help further insure our students’ success. Squash Haven is one of eighteen member programs in the National Urban Squash and Education Association. Squash Haven is held accountable to NUSEA standards in 16 areas of operation including attendance/attrition, school partnership low income thresholds, programming, budgeting, and strategic planning. Yale University Athletics provides squash courts, classroom space, office space, photocopying, telecom/internet/ fax, utilities, tickets to Yale athletic events, and transportation to a major field trip. In addition, Yale Squash is committed to providing 30 hours of volunteer individualized squash instruction per week throughout the academic year. The Yale School of Management has provided board fellows who have assisted with strategic planning, board review, and data. SOM Outreach teams have also helped us focus on plans for communications and corporate outreach.
New Haven Public Schools provides busing for all program participants after school to Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Administrators and teachers provide access to student records and ongoing communication about student performance. Squash Haven students participate in Breakthrough New Haven at Hopkins School and the U.S. Grant Foundation at Yale at high rates and we track student progress in those programs through close communication with program administrators. Squash Haven also collaborates with the following schools for squash visits and/or education outings: Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss, Taft, Suffield Academy, Loomis Chaffee, Berkshire, Williston Northampton, and St. Luke’s, among others. Our community service program, where each team members does ten hours of community service per year, enabled us to collaborate with the following local organizations : Boys and Girls Clubs of New Haven, Fish, The Diaper Bank, Downtown Soup Kitchen, West River Neighborhood Housing, and Yale Sustainable Food Project among others.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
When families, schools and communities take the view that children and youth are valued and respected assets to society, they necessarily support environments that nurture youth development. Children raised to embrace positive social values, to seek self-understanding, and to value their self-worth grow to become community-minded young adults with a sense of belonging and a belief in their resiliency. See how you can help our community's children grow into tomorrow's leaders.
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