US Squash has recognized Urban Squash Cleveland as the fourth facility–and the first in the Midwest–to be accredited as an official US Squash Community Affiliate.
As a Community Affiliate, Urban Squash Cleveland joins Portland Community Squash in Maine, Atlanta Community Squash, Access Youth Academy in San Diego and the soon-to-be-opened Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
Founded by Michael Shaughnessy, Jack Herrick and Jack Turben in 2012, Urban Squash Cleveland spent the first six years operating a SEA program at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. In 2018, the organization opened a state-of-the-art facility featuring four squash courts and two classrooms on the campus of Urban Community School.
Today, the programs have grown to include forty-seven students in the SEA program, community memberships, lessons, clinics, leagues, tournaments, camps, and school-day physical education. Executive Director, Iago Cornes, credits the expanding programs to a great facility partner in the Urban Community School, engaged students and families, and full commitment to the mission by the board, volunteers, supporters, and the broader community.
“We are uniquely positioned to bring to life a new community of squash in our city, one that is diverse, inclusive and thriving,” Cornes said. “Being a part of the Community Affiliate Network will help Urban Squash Cleveland provide access to the sport of squash to everyone in Cleveland’s near west side, and support our youth development program.”
Urban Squash Cleveland’s innovative programs have used squash to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds. Beyond squash, their wraparound services include mentoring, travel and academics, plus unique health, culinary and financial literacy programs. As the programs grow, Urban Squash Cleveland is facilitating trainings, events, and conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion for the community.
Urban Squash Cleveland is committed to working with peers within the Community Affiliate Network to continue strengthening the current programs and to working with US Squash to promote the spread of Community Squash into more communities in Ohio and across the country.
“I have been aware of the great work in Cleveland for the past three years, and they are an example of an organization that found community squash on their own,” said Barrett Takesian, US Squash Senior Advisor for Community Programs. “I’m thrilled that Cleveland is joining the Community Affiliate Network, so that we can innovate and grow together.”
For more information on Urban Squash Cleveland, visit urbansquashcleveland.com.
US Squash Community Affiliate Network
No matter where you play your squash–school facilities, membership facilities, an outdoor court in the park or more–if you are committed to building an inclusive community, learn more about joining the Community Affiliate Network here. Interested facilities and participants are invited to join information sessions held every third Friday of the month.
The Community Affiliate initiative begins the process of developing more formal relationships with key regional facility partners that are closely aligned with US Squash’s mission of promoting squash’s growth and development by increasing access and awareness, supporting meaningful lifelong engagement in the sport, and encouraging sportsmanship while achieving competitive excellence.
Community Affiliates conduct US Squash programs and activities to build the sport, inclusive of junior scholastic squash team programs, junior squash grassroots development and high-performance programs, squash and education programs, adult squash development, and accredited leagues, ladders, and tournaments. Community Affiliates receive programmatic assistance including US Squash software and support services, regional and national promotion, and coordination on pilot programs focused on creating and testing best practices for growing the sport.