Racquet Up Detroit Celebrates the Launch of New Eight-Court Facility
On January 28th, Racquet Up Detroit celebrated the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art education and youth development center, equipped with eight squash courts, three classrooms, a college and career center, and two study lounges.
The ribbon cutting marked a momentous milestone for the 12 year-old program, with numerous supporters, alumni, students, and staff enduring the winter weather to be a part of the celebration. “This is a special day for Detroit,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, one of 125 in attendance.
Founded in 2010, Racquet Up Detroit enrolls students beginning in fifth grade and provides ongoing support through high school and college. 100% of students that stay with the program have graduated high school and gained admission to college, with seven playing on varsity squash teams this year at such institutions as Denison University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and St. Lawrence University.
“Racquet Up has been an inspiration to my life,” says program graduate Antwan Ramsey, who gave remarks with his mother Tanya at the grand opening. “It has gone from creating a team to being a family. Every family needs a home and now Racquet Up has their own.” Ramsey started the program at age ten and is now a student at Wayne County Community College, working part-time as a Squash Program Assistant at RUD.
The new 18,000 square-foot facility is the largest squash center in the Midwest and will enable Racquet Up to serve more than 200 students annually. “Our new facility will be a game-changer for kids, and it could not be more timely as we all try to move forward from the pandemic,” says Executive Director Derek Aguirre. “We have demonstrated that our program can support students to succeed academically and access life-changing opportunities. From our new, permanent home, we will provide this support to thousands of youth and their families over the decades to come.”
Racquet Up Detroit is the fifth SEA member program to have an independently owned and operated facility, joining San Diego’s Access Youth Academy, Chicago’s MetroSquash, Philadelphia’s SquashSmarts, and Harlem’s StreetSquash. “The opening of Racquet Up Detroit’s center is an exciting milestone for the organization and the SEA network,” says SEA Executive Director Tim Wyant. “Facilities are transformative for our member programs, enabling them to serve more students, enhance services, and foster community and belonging in a permanent home. The facility is a testament to the extraordinary leadership of Executive Director Derek Aguirre, Board Chair George Haggarty, and the entire Racquet Up Detroit community. Congratulations to all!”
Learn more about Racquet Up Detroit here and check out the local media coverage below!
The Detroit News – A special day for Detroit: Racquet Up youth squash center opens