We talk with Renato Paiva, who is the CEO, or Executive Director of Access Youth Academy in San Diego, California. Access Youth is part of the Network of S-E-A, Squash Education Alliance, a non-profit After School Youth program, combing Squash training and Academic enrichment.
Renato, has been leading the charge in San Diego since 2007 and on top of his role with Access Youth, he’s been raising awareness for the sport on the West Coast to inspire more growth of Squash. One of his students, Reyna Pacheco, is an inspiring example of how a dedicated Coach can remarkably impact the trajectory of a person’s life and their family. As an undocumented immigrant, Reyna went from a novice squash player, to playing Varsity at Columbia before turning Pro. Reyna has since retired as a Professional but moved onto the Financial sector working at Goldman Sachs.
This player/Coach story is now encapsulated in ‘Hollywood’ history, by Apple TV filming their story for the series Little America (click link to watch) and highlights just one of the impactful stories Access Youth delivers for all students involved.
The dream for many programs like Access Youth Academy, is to have their own dedicated squash facility. In order to secure a permanent home in San Diego, Renato and the Board of Directors had to be resilient against the ups & downs, twists and turns that these projects usually endure before success. Essentially, Renato was deploying the same core message he shares every day with his students “small things, every day, for a long period of time…that’s how change happens!”
And what does success look like? Millions of dollars raised, a $5.5 Million Grant from the City of San Diego, all towards building a home for this non-profit to help serve more students.
Before being Executive Director, he was originally from Brazil. As a junior squash player, Renato played for the Brazilian National Team. After graduating from college in Brazil, he made the move to the United States, Coaching at Harvard University before making the move out West.
Renato has boundless energy and channels it to drive the growth of Squash on the West Coast and propel the lives of his Student to a better tomorrow. We hope you enjoy our conversation!
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