SquashSmarts Honors Philadelphia Youth Sports Leaders

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(l-r standing) Chris Tejada, Ransom Gayman, Ann Marie Horner, Terry Horner, Beth Devine, Quinetta Bowden and Ross Bolling; (l-r sitting) Melliah Santos and Dasha Hammond.

Beth Devine, Anne Marie Horner and Terry Horner were honored by Philadelphia’s youth squash and education program SquashSmarts at the FS Investments U.S. Open with the 2018 SquashSmarts Distinguished Service Award.

The three are leaders with the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative: Beth Devine is the executive director and Terry Horner is the board chair. Through PYSC, they have helped to dramatically enhance the capacity of sports-based youth-development organizations like SquashSmarts to provide high-quality programs in Philadelphia. SquashSmarts was a founding member of PYSC in 2009, which now has thirty-five member organizations including such prominent programs as First Tee, Girls on the Run, Philly Girls in Motion and Outward Bound.

Quinetta Bowden, SquashSmarts’ middle school academic director, and Ross Bolling, SquashSmarts’ middle school squash director, introduced Devine and the Horners. Bowden and Bolling both spoke movingly of them and PYSC’s commitment to giving children access to opportunities. “PYSC is a guiding light in our community,” Bowden said, “and because of PYSC, SquashSmarts is a better program and Philadelphia a better city. Game on, Philly.”

More than two hundred SquashSmarts staff members, students, parents, donors, advisors and board members joined the SquashSmarts VIP Night celebration Monday night at the U.S. Open. Founded in 2001, SquashSmarts is an award-winning, free, intensive out-of-school academic and athletic mentoring program changing the lives of Philadelphia’s public school students. Students are recruited in middle school from Roberto Clemente Promise Academy, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, and Overbrook Educational Center. Operating out of two facilities—the Lenfest Center in North Philadelphia and Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center—the program has students attend practices three days a week for seven years. SquashSmarts is the official community partner of the recently announced Arlen Specter US Squash Center.

Previous SquashSmarts Distinguished Service Award honorees include: PYSC co-founders Wendy Palmer and Nancy Peter (2013); alumni coaches Sakora Miller, Kareem Price, Devonte Harris and Mithun Das (2014); founder and President Andrew Nerhbas (2015); volunteers Karen & George Gowen and Judy & John Wisniewski (2016); and executive assistant Jeanie Shanahan (2017).