Photo Credit: Jason Keen

A New Path to Education and Opportunity for Young Detroiters.


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 is 13 years strong in offering an intensive, holistic and long-term youth development program. The purpose is to help Detroit students get to and through college and find a viable career.

Youth join in 5th grade and are supported through graduation from high school and college. Over many years in the program, students are provided with significant academic support, world-class coaching in the sport of squash, and a wide range of character-building exposure activities.

Students commit to attending at least three hours a day for three days a week, including equal parts academic enrichment and health and fitness activities. Here is what students do during their time at Racquet Up:

  • Receive literacy development, homework help, and supplemental tutoring
  • Volunteer in the community through organized service projects
  • Visit Detroit’s cultural amenities
  • Tour colleges and universities
  • Career exploration opportunities
  • Travel to squash competitions
  • Travel opportunities in the summer to academic, athletic, and outdoor adventure camps
  • Education on positive nutritional habits
  • Support with social-emotional development


  • 100% high school graduation
  • 100% of students receive college acceptances
  • 90% enrollment in college
  • 90% college graduation
  • All participants visit at least 2 colleges, complete 2 service projects and 3 cultural exposure activities per year
  • All participants have the opportunity to compete in the sport of squash


Squash is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, and has been rated by Forbes Magazine as the healthiest sport over rowing and swimming. It is a rigorous racquet sport with extended rallies, making it necessary to have muscular and mental strength, flexibility, and endurance. Generally, it is a self-refereed sport, in which good sportsmanship, honesty, and etiquette matter. Our students strive to attain holistic educational growth, and squash is a fun, effective vehicle for this goal.


Racquet Up Detroit was established in the spring of 2010 through a concerted effort by the Squash and Education Alliance (SEA) and a team of five local board members. Vital funding came from a challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Kresge Foundation, and the McGregor Fund.

Having begun with 40 students, Racquet Up now works with 140 young people in 5th-12th grade from public schools in Northwest Detroit.


Racquet Up Detroit is one of 20 member programs of the Squash and Education Alliance (SEA). Since the first program of this type was founded in Boston 25 years ago, the results have been inspiring:

  • 2,500+ young people in elementary school through college supported by SEA member programs and international affiliates
  • 1,693 elementary, middle, and high school students across the U.S. enrolled in SEA programs
  • 949 high school graduates from SEA member programs
  • 187 high school graduates from SEA programs have played on college squash teams
  • 95 percent of students who stay in our member programs graduate high school and enroll in post-secondary schools
  • 68 percent of students earn a B.A. within 6 years, compared with the national average of 20 percent for low-income students