Harlem afterschool program teaches the sport of squash and life lessons

HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) – A program in Harlem is helping thousands of students reach their potential academic goals through the sport of squash.

The program is called StreetSquash. It is a highly successful program that blends the sport of squash with tutoring, serving students from grades 6-12 and creating champions on and off the court. The sport is popular internationally, but it continues to gain traction in New York.

Thomas Overton, 14, and Khissaiyia Spencer, 16, are on their way to London; both are Harlem squash champions. StreetSquash has its huge headquarters between Lenox and Fifth Avenue, across from NYCHA’s King Towers.

George Polsky is the founder. He is an All-American national champion himself. He knows firsthand how transformative sport can be. The object of the game is to survive and outwit your opponent. It’s a sport that builds the confidence to take on challenges, growing stronger with every stroke of the racquet.

Sixty students receive coaching for their squash matches as well as access to homework help, private tutoring and mental health counselling. The program has been around for over 20 years and has helped place thousands of students in top schools and colleges.

Overton fell in love with the sport of squash – his dream is to turn professional. Spencer wants to become a lawyer. It is the discipline and dedication to the sport that they will carry with them into life.

The program is free for students and families, but relies on community support. If you would like to donate or get more information about the free after-school program, click here.