Monday was the first day in a new building that was 10 years in the making for Access Youth Academy.
For the past 15 years, Access has changed the lives of at-risk, low-income students through the sport of squash.
Renato Paiva, the executive director of Access, grew up in Brazil and went on to coach squash coach at Harvard. A self-described country club boy, Paiva said squash used to be for the wealthy.
“I found myself out of touch with this, and I said, 'I got to do something else,' and I found this incredible avenue through Urban Squash," he explained.
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That is the Urban Squash Movement. It spread from Boston to Harlem, the Bronx to Philadelphia, Chicago to San Diego, supporting low-income students on their way to and beyond college.
Under phase one, students in 7th through 12th grades get individualized tutoring and mentoring for an hour-and-a-half every day after school, and then play squash for an hour-and-a-half. Under phase two, Access helps students once they get to college. Under phase three, Access helps them find employment.
According to Access, 100%O of its students graduate from high school and college, often Ivy League schools. For the last 15 years, Access has been supporting students at the Preuss School, but now, with its brand new building, it will be able to expand its program to include students at seven other schools in San Diego.
The grand opening is July 17. It is invitation only, but if you would like to attend and support these students, go to WWW.Accessyouth.org.