Access Youth Academy recently hosted their first annual gala at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. The evening was filled with conversations with students from the Access program and special guests like Karen Susman, former Wimbledon Tennis Champion ’62 and Thierry Lincou, former World Squash Champion ’04. The event kicked off the launch of the Access Youth Academy capital campaign.

For seven years, Access Youth Academy has transformed the lives of underserved youth in San Diego by using its four pillars of academic enrichment; health, wellness, social responsibility and leadership through squash. The program boasts a 100% high school graduation and college acceptance rate and has earned $2.5 million in scholarships. Access students perform 82% better than their non-Access peers and have an overall average 3.5 GPA, making Access Youth Academy the most academically successful urban squash program.

Access Youth Academy selects seventh grade students from The Preuss School UCSD to enroll in the program and works with them for six years. By graduation, students are transformed into young adults with the pillars of Access as their foundation to pursue success at schools such as Amherst, Columbia, Dartmouth and UCSD.

“Access changed my life. It helped me become a better student, a better athlete and a better person,” Hanna B., 2013 Access graduate and a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2017 tells Giving Back Magazine.

Access Youth Academy, the San Diego Unified School district and Hoover High School together will help more students reach their full potential starting in 2016. The joint-venture project will build a new $6M two-story squash and academic facility on Hoover High School Campus. It will serve over 1,400 students each year and be a gathering place for the surrounding community. The building will be one of the largest squash facilities on the west coast with six classrooms, a library, administrative offices and nine squash courts, including one all glass exhibition court.

The project budget is equally funded between public funds granted by the Proposition Z school bond and private funds from individuals, foundations and corporations who support Access Youth Academy’s growing program.

“Our program has shown we are transforming lives,” says Blair L. Sadler, Board Chair of Access Youth Academy. This facility will transform the underserved youth of San Diego County and make Access Youth Academy the primary example for other urban squash programs across the nation.

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