A National Movement
Since 1995, students from urban public schools across the country have benefited from the unique combination of academic tutoring and enrichment, community service, squash coaching, mentoring, high school and college placement support, and summer/extended learning opportunities. Beginning with SquashBusters in Boston, then spreading to New York with StreetSquash and CitySquash, and subsequently to Philadelphia, Chicago, New Haven, San Diego and Baltimore (there are now 17 programs spread across the United States), the Urban Squash & Education movement has made a phenomenal impact on the lives of thousands of children, including the following outcomes:
- Greater than 90% of program graduates (those who participate through middle and high school) go to colleg
- Nearly 80 students have been admitted to selective private high schools with full funding
- Students have earned approximately $10 million in high school and college scholarships
- Hundreds of students have been recognized with squash rankings at the state and national level
- Multi-million dollar youth centers have been built in Boston, Harlem, Philadelphia and Chicago
- Over 2000 students are served during the academic year across 17 programs, in 17 cities, with hundreds more reached through alumni support, summer programs, and outreach
Comprehensive Support for Urban Youths
A successful educational experience - one that inspires and makes one want to learn more, to value education - is not solely about what happens inside the school walls. It is about the interactions between what happens at home, in the classroom, in the neighborhood, and during the summer. It is about language patterns, family expectations and values, extended learning opportunities, how parents advocate for their children and how children learn to advocate for themselves; it is about access to opportunities that support, foster, and encourage an identity as a learner.
NUSEA programs consistently attend to those out-of-school factors that have a profound impact on school success. NUSEA programs support and empower lower-income and minority youths from underserved urban areas by creating a complementary learning system that provides comprehensive, long-term, intensive after-school and summer programs. Students have an opportunity to participate for up to seven years, benefiting significantly from the support of caring, professional staff that engages with their families, teachers, and school administrators.
Impact360 Comes To Denver
In 2007 Denver was identified as the location for 9th National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA) program, and in 2008, with the support of Mayor Hickenlooper, The Anschutz Foundation, The Denver Athletic Club, The Hashim Khan Foundation, and a dedicated group of leaders, Impact360 (as Mile High Squash) was launched. Housed at the Denver Athletic Club, Impacdt360 started with a group of fifth and sixth graders from Bryant Webster Dual Language K-8 School and added a new group of sixth grade students each fall for five years. In the fall of 2014, Impact360 had students in grades eight through twelve and had been unable, due to constraints of its physical campus, to accept a new class of students for two years. Essentially, Impact360 had reached a limit.
The Evolution of Impact360
In 2014 Mile High Squash began preparing for a shift in its design to expand the number of students served, resulting in a stronger organization with improved stability and sustainability for generations to come. While squash breathed life into the organization and the greater squash community has done an outstanding job of supporting it, cycling represents a unique opportunity. The Boulder/Denver area is arguably the cycling mecca of the United States. From professionals to enthusiasts, the roads are clogged with cyclists who consider cycling a way of life. This, combined with the fact that cycling is done outdoors and therefore needs no additional indoor space for the sport, makes linking biking to the organization’s existing educational aims seem a natural progression here in Denver.
There isn’t a scholar-athlete program in the Denver metro area that uses cycling in the way that Impact360 uses squash. There are biking programs, to be sure, but there isn’t a program that intentionally uses cycling as the anchor of an educational program to help first-generation scholar-athletes create a viable pathway to college. This program expansion will bring the cycling community’s passion to the aid of the students who are ready to enlarge their dreams.
Current Impact360 News
On December 1, 2014, the Impact360 board unanimously voted to expand programming to include cycling, and in April 2015 Impact360 accepted 10 students from the class of 2021 at West Generation Academy.Impact360 will run on two campuses: the Denver Athletic Club campus will house up to 50 students who use squash as the anchor sport. The West Generation Academy campus, a local 6-12 school, will house up to 60 students who use cycling as the anchor sport. Students at both campuses will receive instruction across the three core content areas of Health & Wellness, Academics, and Life Skills. Each student, regardless of the campus, will participate in a minimum of 450 hours of programming per year and over 3000 hours of programming during the course of his or her seven-year commitment.