City Squash
Enabling New York City youth to fulfill their academic,
athletic and personal potential.



Happy Holidays!

 December 2016


Friends of CitySquash,


CitySquash team members meditate at the beginning and end of every practice and academic session. They participate in a social and emotional learning program, spend an increased amount of time in the outdoors, learn yoga, and take art and music classes. They eat healthy food, and they have opportunities to exercise before school, after school, and on almost every weekend and holiday. Our offices are open late and provide safe places where they can get help with homework and spend time with friends. We work tirelessly to create an environment where our students feel safe and supported in all areas of life.


One of the reasons we do this is because children who grow up in poverty experience significantly more stress than children who grow up in middle class or affluent families. That stress can have a lasting impact on their health as well as on their academic performance. In order for CitySquash to help our students succeed, we must help them manage stress, and we believe that the depth of our program does just that.


We also hope that our outstanding alumni can provide our current students with confidence and direction. Now, in our 15th year, CitySquashers can meet successful young adults, who were once just like them, and who stuck with our program and defied the statistics that say they are more likely to drop out of school or be forced back into the cycle of poverty than to succeed. Some of the amazing examples are:


Jose Alvarez (Canterbury School ’09, Hobart & William Smith Colleges ’13), who received his Master’s Degree in Education this fall and is a Math Teacher at Harlem Children’s Zone.


Manuela Perez (Blair Academy ’12, Barnard College ’16), who was recognized as a Richard B. Fisher Scholar by Morgan Stanley and is now a full-time Analyst at the firm.


Myriam Kelly (Westover School ’11, Bates College ’15), who provides support for international students and parents as the Global Programs Associate at Westover School.          


There are many, many more. Each CitySquash alumnus and team member has his or her own story, but together they paint a picture of a program that is working. As we enter our 15th year, 98% of our high school graduates go on to college, and all of our college students have graduated within six years. Our college graduates are employed and leading successful and independent lives in different cities and countries. We are incredibly proud of them—thank you for making all of this possible.


We wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season!



Terence Li  

Executive Director


Inaugural Battle of Brooklyn a Success!

Team Washington wins the squash title!



On Sunday, November 20th CitySquash hosted the inaugural Battle of Brooklyn to raise awareness and funds for CitySquash’s Brooklyn program. The event was held at CitySquash Brooklyn’s home base at the Poly Prep Country Day School’s Novogratz Center for Athletics.


Six teamed suited up for battle— The Kills! captained by Silvia Campo & David Hermer, Team Boast & Brag captained by Jean & Lark Ervasti, Brooklyn Beasts captained by Mike Gantcher, Brooklyn Gourds captained by Zerline Goodman, Team Orange captained by Peter Kelly, and Team Washington captained by Laura Trevelyan & Toby Goldston. Collectively, more than $30,000 was raised to support increasing the program’s enrollment and services. CitySquash will have 48 Brooklyn team members this year.


In the end, Team Washington defeated Team Orange in the championship final to take first place in the squash competition, and the Brooklyn Beasts came away with the fundraising title. To cap-off the day, CitySquash alum Chris Fernandez and current 5th grade team member, Amaya Diggs, gave memorable speeches illustrating the power of the CitySquash in their lives.


Thank you for supporting CitySquash in the first annual Battle of Brooklyn! Because of you, CitySquash is able to continue to change the lives of the students we serve. To get more involved with CitySquash’s Brooklyn program, please email us at






Team Members Recongnized at Racquet Ceremony


On December 18th, CitySquash’s fourth grade class was recognized at the second annual Racquet Ceremony for spending over 100 hours on court since joining the program. The ceremony was a culmination of their hard work on court since last December. As a reward, each team member earned their very own squash racquet, shoes, and goggles. Parents, siblings, and CitySquash staff members were in attendance to celebrate the students’ accomplishment. Each student was individually recognized with a short commendation highlighting their contributions to the team on and off the court. Congratulations to our 11 team members who reached this exciting milestone!


Racquet Ceremony Recipients

Emmanuella Bentil

Ali Darabuilwi

Alicia Herrera

Yordi Lucero

Noami Marte

Allison Martinez

Ariana Michaca

Elias Ortega

Gerardo Ortiz

Tania Torres

Giovanni Zamboli


Record Marathon for CitySquash



On Sunday, 13 runners completed the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon as part of CitySquash’s Marathon Team. Our runners spent months training to run the 26.2 miles while simultaneously fundraising for CitySquash. In total, the group has raised over $50,000 for CitySquash – a record for the organization. On race day, CitySquash team members traveled to mile 21 in the Bronx to support our runners. Seventh grader Justin and tenth grader Sh-Kyrah got the chance to cheer on their mentors, and all of the team members were excited to give high-fives to the CitySquash Team! 


Congratulations to all of our runners: John Beam, Kathryn Brummer, Alexandra Boillot, David Castellani, Caroline Castellani, Amanda Chen, Omar Corona, Jessica Davis, Catherine Fowler, Joseph Hughes, Peter Kelly, Terence Li, and Keech Turner!  Thank you for your hard work on behalf of CitySquash and thank you to all who supported the 2016 CitySquash Marathon Team!


Lake Placid 2016

Brianna, Dalia, Eslin, and Lizbeth in Lake Placid


Over 100 CitySquashers from the Bronx and Brooklyn embarked on CitySquash’s annual team retreat in Lake Placid over the week of August 25th.Team members spent the week hiking, swimming, and competing in field  games in the CitySquash Cabin Cup Challenge. Team members summitted five  different peaks in the Adirondacks-Ampersand, McKenzie, Whiteface,  Cascade, and Haystack . In addition to the hiking, swimming and camp competitions, the experience was a wonderful way for team members from both programs to forge friendships. The retreat focused on team-building and self-reflection to help in preparing for the full season ahead. On the last night of the trip, team members had the opportunity to hear CitySquash college students and alumni reflect on their experiences with CitySquash. A big thank you to the Reiss Family who graciously hosted the entire team! 


New Year, New Schools

Over the past few weeks, seven CitySquashers have started their first year at independent day and boarding schools, and six CitySquashers have headed off to their freshman year of college. Since CitySquash’s launch in 2002, 64 CitySquash students have been admitted to selective independent schools, and 56 CitySquashers have been admitted to selective colleges throughout the country. Good luck to these team members as they settle into their new schools!


Independent Schools
Karla Dominguez – Episcopal High School 
Mindy Djindjele – Harlem Academy
Mikey Garcia – Blair Academy 
Vanessa Lucero – Pomfret School
Melanie Pestana – Brooks School
Kesley Tejada – Ethel Walker School
Dainalee Velez – Rectory School


Jeremy Carrasquillo – Connecticut College 
Omar Castelan – Utica College
Cristian Escalona – Hobart & William Smith 
Jose Fernandez – St. Lawrence University 
Bryson Grant – SUNY Buffalo
Karina Lazaro – Hobart & William Smith


Summer Travels

CitySquashers enjoying their trip to Vermont!



When not in the Bronx or Brooklyn, many team members have been off making new friends and exploring new places at different academic, squash, and outdoor camps. This year, CitySquash was able to secure over 100 camp slots for our team members. CitySquashers Tyla McKenzie,Joana Pacheco and Luigi Pasquariello attended the NUSEA Citizenship Tour where they met Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan, along with numerous other government officials and professionals in public service and media. Team members Caleb Boateng and Frankie Pasquariello are spending their last month of summer at Camp Keewaydin in Salisbury, VT for the fourth consecutive year and CitySquash sent a record seven students to Camp Becket and Chimney Corners Camp in Becket, MA. Team member Tanya Mendoza even got to travel to Chile for three weeks with Chimney Corners Camp for a Service and Leadership Program.


Other team members have spent time at camps including Boston Summer Lab, Episcopal High School Biotechnology Experience, Westover School Women in Finance and Exeter Summer School. A few students have even been lucky enough to travel abroad to various squash and academic camps in England, Italy, and Germany. For the first time, eight CitySquash team members traveled up to Middlebury College in July for a week filled with squash, hiking, and swimming with Middlebury Squash Coach, Mark Lewis. In August, six students will return to Martha’s Vineyard for the annual camp there run by the Cerullo Family. Thank you to all who make these amazing experiences for our team members possible!


CitySquash Captures 5 Urban Individual National Titles


Over the weekend of June 17-19, a record of 70 CitySquash team members competed at Urban Individual Nationals at Amherst and Williams Colleges. CitySquash had an incredibly successful tournament – with 9 players competing in the finals of their divisions and 5 ultimately winning national titles. In addition to these championship winners, Alexis Rios won the B division of the BU13 draw. Overall, CitySquash won a title in each age division, capturing more titles than any other urban program. Congratulations to all CitySquash team members who competed over the weekend and thank you to NUSEA and U.S. Squash for organizing a great event.


2016 City Squash Urban National Champions

GU13 – Lizbeth Barroso

BU15 – Jesse Brew

GU17 – Tyla McKenzie

BU17 – Dylan Ram

GU19 – Joana Pacheco


College Students in the Working World

With the help of CitySquash’s Career Placement Program, 13 of our college students were able to land various internships this summer. ABC News, Fresh Direct, The Environmental Defense Fund, and johnnie-O Apparel were among this summer’s employers of our college students. These internships are located all over the US, including New York City, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Texas, and Arizona. Students were also invited to a NUSEA sponsored pre-internship Professionalism Boot Camp where they learned about workplace etiquette and practices, including inter-office communication, dressing for success, and proper email structure. Throughout the year, our Career Mentors supported our team members in this process by helping to write and edit resumes and cover letters, and volunteering for our Mock Interview and Career Fair events. Across the board, our college students have gained a lot of valuable experience with the career process and from their various internships this summer. If you are interested in being a Career Mentor or helping out with CitySquash’s Career Events please email us at


Kingsley Amoako – StreetSquash
Andreina Benedith – Fresh Direct
Andrew Cadienhead – Johnnie-O Apparel
Darrius Campbell – Squash & Beyond  
Fernando Flores – Environmental Defense Fund
Michael Kelly – Bridger Logistics 
Cris Margaret Frias – U.S. Squash
Stacy Maceda – Donors Choose
Mariela Mendoza – Fresh Direct
Santiago Moran – ABC News
Marisela Palafox – Teach For America
Laura Polanco – Lafayette College Department of Biology
Criselys Polanco – Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand


CitySquash goes on Spring Tour


This April, over 50 team members traveled to Florida, Vancouver, Ottawa, Philadelphia, and Long Island as a part of CitySquash’s annual Spring Enrichment Tours! Spending the week holding alligators in the Everglades, hiking along the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver, touring Parliament in Ottawa, and spending a night at the museum in Philadelphia – our team members explored near and far and had a blast! By the end of the week, CitySquash students returned to the Bronx and Brooklyn with valuable memories and stronger connections with their teammates. In total, CitySquash team members have now traveled to 13 countries and 28 states. Thank you to all who make these trips possible.


Please see student reflections detailing their unforgettable experiences below!


Elementary School Trip to Philadelphia:

For the elementary school Spring Tour, the 4th grade class traveled to Philadelphia for 3 days. The first thing we did was visit the Franklin Institute. It is the science museum where science is actually fun! There were games and fun ways to learn about things like gravity, the human heart, and engines. We even slept at the museum next to an exhibit about traveling to the moon. It was exciting to learn about phases of the moon while I was in my sleeping bag.

-Diana Hernandez, 4th grade


Middle School Trip to Florida:

This spring, ten CitySquash middle schoolers piled into the bus and hit the road for all points south! While their epic road odyssey began and ended in the Bronx, it included stops in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.  In just six days they saw almost all of what the east coast has to offer and got to experience quite a bit of it as well with activities like, laser tag, a tour of a former slave plantation, several beach trips, volleyball, basketball, squash with Chucktown Squash, banana boating, exotic food tasting, exploring the Everglades, and even holding an alligator! Happily exhausted they carried many a life-long memory back to the Bronx and on the seventh day, rested.


High School Trip to Ottawa:

We had fun touring Skidmore College and St. Lawrence University. We even got the chance to be hosted by students attending St. Lawrence and it was great to experience college life for a night. The college process is right around the corner for some of us, so these college trips are really helpful in preparing us so that we can get a sense of what college is the right fit for each of us. This spring tour was a very memorable one and I will always be thankful for the educational and fun opportunities CitySquash provides for my friends and me.

-Nicole Lara, 11th grade


CitySquash Brooklyn Trip to Long Island:

Even though going to new places and trying new things were fun, one of my favorite memories was simply playing a group clapping game one night at the house. It was my favorite because the whole team, including the coaches, were sitting in a circle and laughing, talking, and having fun together. It felt like we were really a family even though we are not blood-related. Everyone in CitySquash is like a second family to me, just like the common phrases ‘brother from another mother’ or ‘sister from another mister’. I love all of our experiences together.

-Zoe Liu, 5th grade


Beyond the Boroughs to Vancouver:

The next day we all climbed Grouse Mountain, which was very steep and through forest. It was a tough climb, but we all got to the top, where we saw two bears! There was still a lot of snow on the top and people skiing. After lunch, we took the easy way down in the Gondola. There were great views over Vancouver and the Islands. We then went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which was fantastic. The suspension bridge was 450 meters long and as high as the arm pit of the Statue of Liberty. Thank you, CitySquash!

-Daniel Maldonado, 9th Grade