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Santa Barbara School of Squash Gains National Recognition

National association accepts local group as the 12th member program and only the second from the West Coast

Santa Barbara School of Squash (SBSOS) was unanimously admitted as the 12th member program to the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA) as a first year provisional member, only the second program on the West Coast and the first in a small market to receive the desgination.

NUSEA is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to promote squash and education among financially disadvantaged urban youth and is an outgrowth of 15 years of success of community-based squash and education programs. NUSEA membership requires specific criteria for academic and squash programming, student performance (academic and physical), financial stability (fundraising success), staffing and partnerships. As a provisional member, SBSOS has been given a $10,000 first-year grant and will have access to other member programs and procedures.

“NUSEA is thrilled to welcome Santa Barbara School of Squash as its newest member,” said Greg Zaff, executive director and co-founder of NUSEA. “SBSOS has proven that it makes a very real and enduring contribution to the lives of Santa Barbara’s less-fortunate students and that it has the commitment from the larger community to remain a force for positive social change.”

“This is a major milestone for the program,” said Debbie Brown, SBSOS’ executive director. “We have already been serving the community for seven years and seen for ourselves how our after-school program has changed the lives of our students and been praised by school administrators and the police. And to now receive national recognition and support is a huge step forward.”

The Santa Barbara Athletic Club and Cate School provide the venue, free of charge. SBSOS currently enrolls more than 30 students from 11 Santa Barbara schools with five days of programming. Full attendance, strong effort and community service are required of all students to remain in the program.

SBSOS is a nonprofit organization providing elementary, middle and high school students from financially disadvantaged families in Santa Barbara with a safe and structured place to exercise their bodies and minds during the after-school hours. SBSOS combines academic tutoring and enrichment, squash instruction and community service to empower motivated youth and to enhance their ability to grow academically, athletically, and in life. SBSOS is the only after-school program in Santa Barbara that promotes the sport of squash with individualized tutoring, mentoring and community service.

All students of member programs are invited to play in NUSEA’s two national tournaments, The Urban Team and Urban Individual championships, in which they are surrounded by more than 300 of their peers. SBSOS is very excited to have sent two student representatives to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., to the Individual tournament in June: Miguel Nava placed 3/4 in the BU17 division and David Quintero finished sixth out of 48 players in the BU15 division.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara School of Squash, or call 805.570.9970. Connect with SBSOS on Facebook.

— Liliana Lau is executive director of the Santa Barbara School of Squash.

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