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Since inception, SquashBusters has served 654 urban youth and continues to reach more and more students each year.
Founded in 1996 by Greg Zaff, a former squash professional, SquashBusters set out to introduce Boston youth to a sport that would provide them a bridge to college success, broaden their access to opportunities, and teach them to lead healthy lives.
The program was launched with 24 students from Harrington Elementary School in East Cambridge and Timilty Middle School in Roxbury. These adventurous young people bravely committed to the programs intensive model squash, studying and community service, three days per week during the school year, plus summer activities. All of this was intended to broaden students’ horizons and inspire them to work hard, dream big, and grow up with ambition.
For the first seven years of SquashBusters, all squash and academic practices took place at the Boston YMCA, Harvard Club and Harvard University.
NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP
In 2003, SquashBusters partnered with Northeastern University to build a youth center and squash facility for the programs use. Northeastern donated the land and committed to manage the facility at its expense in return for SquashBusters raising the lions share of the building capital.
The facility, which houses eight squash courts and four classrooms, allowed SquashBusters to increase its enrollment and introduce a high school component to our program, and with it, a college counseling curriculum.
THE BIRTH OF A MOVEMENT
SquashBusters has now developed a replicable model for changing the lives of urban students.More than twentyother cities have emulated our program. Today, there are urban squash and education programs in New York, Newark, New Haven, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Santa Barbara, Oakland, Cleveland, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Charleston, Hartford, and internationally in Canada, South Africa, Colombia and India, collectively serving 2,000 young people.
SquashBusters has now served more than 500 youth since its inception. In 2012, SquashBusters expanded to Lawrence, using borrowed courts and classrooms at Brooks School and Phillips Academy. The program is currently serving nearly 300 students across both sites.