About Racquet Up


To support and empower Detroit youth so they can achieve their full potential through a long-term, demanding, and inspiring mentoring program of squash, academics, and community service.


Racquet Up Detroit was established in the spring of 2010 through a concerted effort by the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA) and a team of five local board members, along with the support of a challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based on an urban youth development model which has proven successful over more than 15 years in 9 other cities across the country, Racquet Up Detroit aims to replicate the outstanding results seen in Boston, Harlem, the Bronx, Philadelphia, New Haven, Chicago, San Diego, Baltimore, and Denver. For more on the urban squash movement, click here


Building on the established Urban Squash and Education model, Racquet Up Detroit aims to promote participants’:

  • Physical fitness
  • Literacy levels
  • Self-esteem and strength of character
  • Educational attainment – high school and college graduation

The Program

Racquet Up Detroit drives toward these goals by requiring participants to attend squash and academic “practices” a minimum of three days each week for the full academic year. Each 3-hour after-school session consists of an hour of squash and fitness instruction and activity, an hour of homework tutoring, and an hour of literacy development. Emphasis is placed on Racquet Up’s core “I-CARE” Values: Integrity, Concern for Others, Appreciation, Respect, and Effort.

Seven Main Components

  • Squash instruction and competition: students learn the sport and compete in local and national squash events
  • Fitness development: students strive toward fitness goals and develop an understanding of and appreciation for physical activity
  • Academic tutoring: staff and volunteers provide high-quality tutoring support to help students succeed in the classroom
  • Literacy development: a research-based literacy curriculum helps students improve their reading abilities
  • Community Service: monthly projects give students an opportunity to lend a hand in the community and discover the value of service
  • Summer Opportunities: Racquet Up helps students find engaging summer activities, including our own summer camp
  • Mentoring: staff and volunteers give students critical support and guidance during their formative years


What is Squash Anyway?

Consistently rated by Forbes Magazine as the “healthiest” sport for its broad benefits for both body and mind, squash is a game that everyone should try. While not particularly well-known yet in the United States, squash is growing in popularity and accessibility, in large part as a result of the National Urban Squash and Education Association. Squash is most commonly compared to racquetball—two people face off in an enclosed indoor court with a tennis-like racquet in hand, each trying to hit the ball to the front wall in such a way that it will rebound and bounce twice before the other player can hit it to the front wall. Click here for a glimpse of some top-level squash players in action.



A National Success Story

Racquet Up Detroit is based on a youth development model that has proven successful over more than 15 years in 10 cities across the country. Through the same core program components—squash and fitness instruction, academic tutoring and enrichment, community service, and mentoring—National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA) programs have driven the following outstanding results:

  • Greater than 90% of participants who remain in the program through middle school and high school go to college
  • Over 100 students have been admitted to selective private high schools with full funding
  • Students have earned over $20 million in high school and college scholarships
  • Hundreds of students have been recognized with squash rankings at the state and national level
  • Over 1000 students are engaged in urban squash programs each year across the country

Can Squash Change Lives?

NUSEA student profiles: Donnie Harris & Erika Chavez
Learn about SquashBusters in Boston
Learn about SquashSmarts in Philadelphia
Learn about CitySquash in The Bronx
Learn about Access Youth Academy in San Diego


Field Trips Galore: College, Community Service and Team-building

March was a great month at Racquet Up.  With no out-of-state tournaments we had the opportunity to get in a rhythm at regular practices and explore exciting field trip opportunities nearby. The fifth grade team is improving their squash skills … Continue reading

RU Students are Winter Whizzes

February means mid-winter break at Schulze Academy.  For Racquet Up students that means a week of Winter Whiz camp where they can spend their days improving their squash skills, exploring their artistic interests and working on specific academic skills. This … Continue reading

Jazz Concert in Palmer Woods

On Saturday we had our annual trip to listen to a concert in Palmer Woods.  For the students on the fifth grade IPA team it was their first field trip with Racquet Up!  The group of 8 students attended the … Continue reading

2014 Is Off to an Exciting Start

January has been a busy and exciting month at Racquet Up. On January 15th and 16th, our new team of fifth graders arrived for their first day of practice.  Students were excited to put on their practice shirts and get … Continue reading