Two number ones for urban youth

World #1 Nicol David was warmly welcomed to the local urban squash center SquashSmarts on Saturday afternoon.

Tim Wyant, Executive Director of the National Urban Squash and Education Association, which oversees urban programs for underprivileged and at-risk youth nationwide, said the visit from Nicol was thrilling for the players.

“She had their absolute attention.  She was just phenomenal, she’s really so thoughtful, and modest!”

The players are part of an elite urban squash squad that has come together in Philadelphia for a weekend of training from a number of urban programs across the United States.  The visit from Nicol coincides with her participation in the 2012 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, which is being held in Philadelphia at the same time.

“For us to be a part of this weekend, probably the biggest weekend in the year for squash, and for us to have the support of U.S. SQUASH and people like Nicol David is really special,” said Wyant.

This past summer, SquashSmarts also hosted First Lady Michelle Obama to promote her health and fitness youth initiative, Let’s Move!  It was a great honor for SquashSmarts to have been selected by Mrs. Obama and Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter.

Philadelphia is home to SquashSmarts, the nation’s third of twelve urban squash programs. Founded in 2001, the program gives the underserved youth of Philadelphia athletic and academic opportunities.

Combining squash training and tutoring, the program gives its 6th to 12th-grade participants a leg up in their scholastic and otherwise endeavors. Their mission is ‘to keep Philadelphia’s public school students in shape, in school, and on track for graduation’.

SquashSmarts operates out of both Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center and the Lenfest Center in North Philadelphia.

By Katherine Barnes