This was a busy year for SquashCares! Highlights include:
- Two fantastic ball blanket sewing events and one prep event resulting in 14 blankets given away to individuals and 7 organizations.
- New records for contributions of balls (nearly 2,600), shoes (47) and squash rackets (37).
- In October 2015, Sydney delivered the introductory speech for the US SQUASH Open Character in Sports Day award ceremony today at Drexel University. You can see the speech here.
- The PSA ReBound program pledged its support to SquashCares.
- Sophie Langlois joined SquashCares as the Director of Sewing and immediately impacted our sewing events by making them run more efficiently;
- SquashCares incorporated as a non-profit corporation.
- Sydney’s work for SquashCares received a Certificate of Excellence for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
- SquashCares received grants from US Squash and a YSA 2015 Summer of Creativity grant.
- We ran our first Generosity crowd funding campaign and raised around $1,000 for our sewing events.
- We received generous contributions from Polartec, the Professional Squash Association World Tour and Dunlop Sports.
We hosted our second annual sewing event on April 23rd, 2016, a week following Global Youth Services Day in the Shipley Center Fencing Studio at the Dana Hall School. Our sponsors US Squash, the Dana Hall School, Dunlop Sport, and the Professional Squash Association made the event possible.
We had a huge turnout of over 100 volunteers at the event and sewed 12 ball blankets which were donated to 6 organizations servicing hundreds of autistic and ADHD individuals. The 6 organizations which received 9 blankets in total are The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Cooperative for Human Services, TILL- Toward Independent Living and Learning, The Walker School, The Gifford School, and Autism Alliance of Metrowest. The remainder of the ball blankets were given to individuals.We recycled about 2,100 dead squash balls, equating to 117 pounds of eliminated waste which would have been disposed into landfills. In total, SquashCares has recycled about 5,000 squash balls into 22 ball blankets, eliminating 276 pounds from our waste stream!
On October 10, 2015, World Squash Day, we held our first sewing event of 2015-2016. We sewed two ball blankets at The Shared Living Collaborative in Merrimac, MA. Nineteen Dana Hall School volunteers graciously donated their time to prep these blankets prior to our sewing event. We used our Youth Service America 2015 Summer of Creativity Grant to fund this event.
Nine Dana Hall School students, some of whom helped prep the blankets, traveled with us to the SLC for the October sewing event. This event was special as we created these ball blankets alongside six disabled individuals from the SLC. We then distributed these ball blankets, free of cost, to an autistic individual living in Marlborough and to the SLC. These ball blankets consist of one hundred and two hundred balls each. We hope they get good use! We had a blast making them with our new friends from the SLC!!!
Major ball contributors this year included the following clubs and coaches:
New York Athletic Club and Coach Clinton Leeuw – 1,050 balls
Newton Tennis & Squash Club and Coach Chris Brownell – 276 balls
The University Club Boston and Coach Chris Spahr – 526 balls
The Maugus Club – 181 balls
Hopkins School – 250 balls
NEISA “B” Tournament Schools – 250 balls
Pomfret School – 37 balls
PSA World Tour – 25 balls
Rackets and Shoes
This year we collected 37 squash rackets through our racket program which were donated to two urban squash programs – CitySquash and Squash Haven. Our shoe program resulted in the contribution of 47 pairs of squash shoes to Squash Haven, SquashBusters and the PSA ReBound program. These contributions allow important programs to bring squash to students who might not otherwise have the chance to play squash.