This was another great year for SquashCares. Some of the highlights include:
- Sewing 23 more blankets this year and giving them away to individuals and 7 organizations servicing people with ADHD and autism;
- Engaging over 100 volunteers at two sewing events (at the third annual sewing event at Dana Hall and our first event at SquashBusters);
- Collecting over 5,500 dead squash balls for recycling from over 25 clubs, schools and college teams;
- Holding our first College Collection Contest where 14 college squash programs contributed balls to SquashCares (special shoutout to Hamilton College for winning the competition!);
- Holding 8 collection events at all three venues for the US Junior Open, all three venues for the NEISA Girls championships and the CSA Men’s and Women’s College Championships;
- Collecting 100 pieces of squash equipment for 3 urban squash programs;
- Establishing our college ball blanket sewing program with Framingham State University; and
- Setting the stage for next year’s expansion into Philadelphia and Providence by engaging with the community service organizations from Drexel University and Rhode Island School for Design.
This year we sewed 23 more blankets! Our original goal this year was 25 blankets. We knew our original goal was a stretch, as in the past two years we had only sewed 22 blankets total. So to double our ball blanket production this year was a great accomplishment. In addition to our 3rd annual ball blanket sewing event at Dana Hall, we also held a sewing event with eighth grade students at SquashBusters and teamed with the Framingham State Phi Upsilon Omicron national honors society to sew blankets.
SquashBusters Sewing Event
We had a great time at our first sewing event of this school year with 20 SquashBusters 8th graders! We created 2 ball blankets and in total reused 300 dead squash balls. These blankets will be donated to the Higginson Lewis School, a school for autistic children in Boston, and a partner of SquashBusters. We also donated 20 pairs of eye goggles generously given to us by Dunlop Sport USA.
The event was initiated by SquashBusters as a way to pay forward SquashCares prior donations of equipment to SquashBusters over the last two years. SquashBusters students were able to use the SquashCares community service opportunity to give something of value to kids with autism and ADHD.
For SquashCares, the event was significant as it was our first event held entirely separate from the Dana Hall School. We learned a lot from this sewing event and are now set to offer a kit to other schools or programs that would like to host their own sewing events. We can offer you the blankets (courtesy of a donation from Polartec), balls, materials to recruit volunteers, and step-by-step instructions on how to hold your sewing event and how to sew a blanket. We would love to expand and have more sewing events with other squash programs and schools worldwide! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in hosting your own sewing event.
Framingham State – PHI U Honors Society
We are super excited about this new program with the Framingham State Phi Upsilon Omicron national honors society in Family and Consumer Sciences. This year the society will be working with SquashCares to sew ball blankets.
This year the society has sewed four 100 ball blankets and prepped another four blankets for our May sewing event. Two blankets have been given to children in Buffalo and the Boston area.
Philadelphia, New York City, and Providence: Here We Come (Next Year)!
That’s right, we are expanding from our base in Boston to Philadelphia and Providence! While we are still working out the details, we are proud to announce that next year we will be teaming with the community service organizations of Drexel University and Rhode Island School of Design to sew ball blankets for SquashCares.
So if you are contributing balls to SquashCares from Philadelphia or Providence, please reach out to us in advance of sending the balls. We’d like to streamline the delivery of balls so that they go directly to the schools which will be sewing. Also, if you know of any organizations servicing people with disabilities in those cities, please let us know as we’d like to offer them free ball blankets.
We are actively recruiting ball collection agents in each of these cities to receive and hold dead squash balls from colleges, secondary schools and squash clubs and then to deliver the balls to RISD or Drexel, as appropriate. Please reach out to email@example.com if you would like to help out in this role.
3rd Annual Sewing Event
SquashCares held its 3rd annual sewing event at Dana Hall on Saturday, May 20th. Over 75 volunteers joined SquashCares over a four hour period to sew 17 ball blankets. Overall, since SquashCares started sewing blankets three years ago, we have now sewn 45 blankets.
The blankets will be donated to the Autism Alliance of MetroWest, Cooperative for Human Services, The DougFlutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, The Gifford School, The Walker School, and the Lurie Center for Autism at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
Special thanks to US Squash for supporting the event and providing a grant, allowing us to purchase event t-shirts for the participants.
We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it!
Thanks to you, we exceeded our goal this year of collecting 5,000 squash balls!
So far this year over 25 organizations have contributed 5,549 balls to SquashCares! But don’t stop there, please keep those balls coming.
Contributors for this year include:
New York Athletic Club – 953 balls
SquashSource.com – 200 balls
Newton Squash and Tennis Club – 479 balls
University Club of Boston – 220 balls
Maugus Club – 118 balls
Concord Acton Squash Club – 462 balls
Dover Squash and Fitness – 207 balls
Milton Academy – 20 balls
Hopkins School – 170 balls
Taft School – 14 balls
Dana Hall School – 50 balls
Westchester Life Time Athletic Club – 73 balls
NEISA Girls “B” Championships – 58 balls
NEISA Girls “C” Championships – 100 balls
Squash on Fire (Gold Tournament) – 28 balls
CSA College National Championships
- Connecticut College – 29 balls
- Naval Academy – 85 balls
- Colby College – 29 balls
- Dartmouth College – 109 balls
- George Washington University – 152 balls
- Brown University – 69 balls
- Bates College – 222 balls
- Vassar College – 156 balls
- Hamilton College – 530 balls
- Cornell University – 250 balls
- Unidentified – 100 balls
- Bowdoin – 163 balls
- Princeton – 247 balls
- Harvard – 146 balls
Individuals – 240 balls
Thanks to all our contributors! We held 8 collection events this year at the following events – all three venues for the US Junior Open, all three venues for the NEISA Girls championships and the CSA Men’s and Women’s College Championships.
College Collection Contest
This year we held our first college collection contest! Dunlop provided three dozen new balls to the school contributing the most dead balls to SquashCares. The College Squash Association endorsed this event.
At the College National Championships we collected 2,287 balls from 13 colleges. Thanks to Connecticut College, Navy, Colby, Dartmouth, George Washington, Brown, Bates, Vassar, Hamilton, Bowdoin, Harvard, Princeton and Cornell for participating in our program!
And the Winner is …. Hamilton College with over 500 balls donated! Thanks to Coach King and all his players for supporting SquashCares.
US Junior Open Squash Championships
SquashCares in conjunction with US Squash held a ball and equipment collection event at the US Junior Open from December 17 through 20. We hosted collection bins at Yale, Trinity, Wesleyan and Choate. Thanks to Sarah Willwerth, Ellie Ackerman and Ben Gliklich for supervising bins at three of the locations.
While our collection was not as large as we hoped, we did collect 3 rackets and 11 pairs of shoes. We also passed out SquashCares flyers and spread the word about our efforts across the world. Thanks to all those who contributed and who showed an interest in our project.
This year we achieved our goal and collected 100 pieces of equipment for donation to three urban squash programs.
Thanks to a donation from Dunlop Sports, we were able to deliver 20 new pairs of goggles to SquashBusters during our November 2016 sewing event. We also collected 51 rackets, 25 pairs of squash shoes and 4 goggles.
Please think of SquashCares prior to throwing out your rackets and shoes!