SquashSmarts, the award-winning Philadelphia youth enrichment program, celebrated its past and future at the 2022 U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist. More than 360 SquashSmarts staff members, students, parents, donors, advisors, and board members attended the SquashSmarts VIP Night, celebrating the ongoing success of the program while enjoying the display of world-class squash at the U.S. Open.
During an on-court ceremony before Team USA squash star Amanda Sobhy took the court for her Round of 16 match, Steve Gregg, Executive Director, welcomed the large crowd to the Arlen Specter US Squash Center. He spoke movingly about a half dozen close friends and supporters of SquashSmarts who in the past few months had passed away, including Louisa Dubin, Mike Gooding, Sam Howe, Frank Reidy and Jen Wales.
Debby Dowlin, SquashSmarts’ Development Director, thanked the entire SquashSmarts family in attendance, including the more than 160 team members and their families. She then introduced Eddie Rosario, a seven-year team member of SquashSmarts. “There is always something new to learn every day,” Rosario said, “and the best part about SquashSmarts is getting to do more and be more. That’s what SquashSmarts’ drive is all about. We teach kids to step outside their comfort zone, to be more than what they could dream to be, and to give it their best shot trying.”
Founded in 2001, SquashSmarts is now entering its twenty-second season. A 501(c)3 non-profit, 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 Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, Neuva Esperanza Academy Charter, Science Leadership Academy, Carver School for Engineering & Science, and Overbrook Educational Center. Operating out of two facilities—the Lenfest Center in North Philadelphia and Arlen Specter US Squash Center—the program has students attend practices three days a week for seven years.