The original component of StreetSquash, the After School Program serves 180 students in 6th-12th grade from Harlem partner schools. Participants are recruited as middle schoolers and commit to four days of programming per week through high school graduation, making up teams of 20-30 boys and girls by grade. Beginning in 9th grade, the College Access & Success Program is a core component of participation. In addition, each student engages in all of the following program areas:
Academic sessions at StreetSquash focus on homework help, development of study skills and consistent work habits, and individualized academic support for each participant. StreetSquash’s Academic Directors oversee student progress over the course of many years in partnership with parents, tutors, and classroom teachers, making weekly visits to partner schools to assess student performance, behavior, and their unmet educational needs.
- After School Tutoring Sessions: Twice weekly individual homework help and academic support.
- Literacy Enrichment: Friday curriculum-based instruction for middle schoolers on a wide variety of topics including creative writing, robotics, forensic science, and Emotional Imprint.
- Individual Tutoring: One-on-one sessions for struggling students and those who want extra support in any subject for the state Regents exams.
Squash is an indoor racquet sport played all over the world, but with limited exposure in the United States. At StreetSquash, almost all students are introduced to squash for the first time when they join the program. They develop a love for the game and work hard to hone their skills through regular lessons, training sessions, and competition. By the time StreetSquashers are in high school, many are competing in regularly scheduled matches and tournaments, and a growing number of graduates are playing squash at the collegiate level with the College Squash Association.
- Squash Practice: Three or four sessions per week focused on improving skills and tactics through drills and conditioning games
- Fitness: An essential component of squash training and a central aspect of every practice
All StreetSquashers are required to complete at least three service-learning projects each year in order to develop an understanding of the needs of their community and the impact of serving others. Students give back in a variety of areas and are always looking for new opportunities. Past partners have included:
- Global Youth Service Day
- American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Walk
- AIDS Walk New York
- New York Food Bank
- Million Trees NYC
- Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
- Food Bank for New York City
- Carrie McCracken TRUCE Community Garden
As they grow into young adults, StreetSquashers are encouraged to pursue leadership opportunities, in order to develop valuable skills for the future as well as to impact their peers and the program overall. Although not required, many students choose to engage in leadership development opportunities:
- Student Leadership Council: Comprised of Co-Chairs, Secretary, and Team Captains, these students are tour guides, ambassadors for the organization, leaders among their peers, and the organizers of such yearly events as Global Youth Service Day and the Street Squash Olympics.
- Volunteering: High school students are encouraged to volunteer on court and in the classroom with middle schoolers. In the summer, they also have the opportunity to act as counselors in the Summer Discovery Program.
- Peer Mentoring: High school students volunteer to work with a middle school buddy and to help them transition to life as a teenager and prepare for high school.
- Peer Mediation: Trained mediators assist their peers with resolving conflicts without adult involvement.