December 1, 2015

Charleston’s Chucktown Squash Becomes NUSEA’s 18th Member Program in the U.S. 

Chucktown Squash at a match against SquashWise and SquashSmarts

Chucktown Squash at a friendly match against SquashWise and SquashSmarts

NUSEA proudly welcomes Chucktown Squash as its first Southern program and its 18th member program in the U.S. Established in 2010 in Charleston, South Carolina, Chucktown Squash serves 30 students from 5th to 10th grade. With its rock solid partnership with the College of Charleston, the program has access to the university’s classrooms, squash courts, and a dedicated base of volunteers. “Chucktown is doing life-changing work for its students and families,” said NUSEA’s Executive Director Tim Wyant, “and NUSEA is proud to have the organization be a part of our network.” Among its accomplishments, Chucktown helped one of its students enter the selective public school, Academic Magnet, and another gain admission to a local private school, Porter Gaud. “Being a part of NUSEA provides the ability to share best practices,” said Chucktown’s Board of Directors Chair Todd Abedon. “You need allies in the world, and I think this is a great way for [us] to develop that support.”

hucktown Squash student J'Mari Butler in front of a College of Charleston classroom's chalkboard

Chucktown Squash student J’Mari Butler in front of a College of Charleston classroom chalkboard

Chucktown Squash’s partnership with the College of Charleston has played a large role in its growth and success. College students who volunteer at Chucktown Squash make a formal four-year commitment to the program. In exchange for their service to Chucktown, college student volunteers receive course credit or financial aid credit. “We used to just have access to the courts and classrooms, but it’s gone so far beyond that,” said Chucktown Squash Executive Director Lauren Herterich.

The first class of Chucktown Squash students learning the fundamentals of squash

The first class of Chucktown Squash students learning the fundamentals of squash

Like all urban squash programs, Chucktown Squash grows through close relationships with each student and her or his family. “To close the achievement and opportunity gap, you have to have a focus on getting involved with the parents,” explained Herterich. Many of the program’s students will be the first in their family to attend college, and communication with family members helps bolster support for each student through the college process. Chucktown Squash “helps build leadership skills, intrinsic motivation, paves the path to college, and lets students know there are opportunities out there to help make them successful individuals.”