#16: Lauren Patrizio Xaba is the Executive Director & Founder of SquashDrive. Breaking down walls & looking to grow outdoors Squash

For some quick background on our guest in this episode, here’s a quick overview.

Lauren Patrizio Xaba is the Executive Director & Founder of SquashDrive, the Squash & Education Alliance program based out of Oakland, California. Lauren has been at the helm since 2009, leading the program to evolve & grow to increase their mission’s impact.

We cover a variety of topics from; what it’s like navigating their core student-programing during a pandemic, how Lauren positioned herself to start Squash Drive and where the program is looking to break new ground in the sport….literally.

After College, Lauren launched her career in Marketing working at companies like Comcast & JP Morgan Chase, before coming to a decision point on what to do next.  When these crossroads happen, like many others, Lauren reached back to her roots and decided to explore how squash could make an impact in people’s lives.

Today, Lauren and the SquashDrive Board of Directors are embracing innovative thinking to be the first SEA program to have outdoor courts! The outdoor concept started as “wouldn’t this be great to have” but during Covid times, the conversation gave new perspective to the need and urgency.

The growth of Outdoor squash has been a topic of discussion for many decades but only a handful of courts currently exist. There is a major growth opportunity in this area but we first need to connect the passion, people & resources for more projects to be successful.

Lauren has been on the West Coast for 15 years, but she is originally from Philadelphia and while attending University of Pennsylvania, she Captained the Squash Team.

It was a pleasure to have Lauren as a guest and we would love to hear from anyone who is looking to grow squash outdoors! We hope you enjoy the conversation.

We are always looking for new stories and love your help! Squash Radio has already shared some audience stories but we are always looking for more.

Reach out to us on any social media app or email squashradio@gmail.com.  As always, thanks for listening!

Music brought to you from: www.bensound.com

#13 Pushing new heights; for MetroSquash & himself! Princeton Grad, David Kay shares his journey of the Chicago non-profit, after school youth program.

For some quick background on our guest in this episode, here’s a quick overview,

Mayor Emanuel, Congressman Rush And Alderman Cochran Open THE HUSSAIN METROSQUASH ACADEMIC & SQUASH CENTER in Woodlawn (2015)

We talk with David Kay, who is the CEO of MetroSquash, a thriving non-profit After Squash Youth Squash program, based in Chicago. During his 15 years at the helm of MetroSquash, he’s helped raised millions of dollar, built an permanent 10 Million home for the program, including 8 Squash courts, office space & classrooms.  They have expanded locations to include programs on both the North and South of Chicago.  The Team David works with has over 20 staffers, more than 100 volunteers, a 40 person Board of Directors with an Auxiliary board of 60 people.

All this is done, to help enrich the lives of more than 400 students.  Most students join the program in middle-school, where MetroSquash Team (and Teammates) will be together through High-school, College and help launch their careers.

David is originally from Canada, and he rose through the the ranks of Junior Squash.  Earned a spot to attend Princeton University, where he helped them win a National Team Championship.  After college, he continued to pursue Squash become a Teaching professional, a Head College coach as well as soaring to World #2 on the Pro Doubles Tour.

Brian Sedlak (left – MetroSquash Boardchair) & David Kay (right – MetroSquash CEO)

David has always thrived on pushing himself through challenges which includes getting an MBA while working, in Karate getting the Brown belt, with black tips, traveling to all seven continent and even climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

David is a deep thinker and a doer who pours his energy into bettering himself and others to help make the World a better place for MetroSquash Students, their parents, alums, the staff, volunteers, board member and auxiliary board.

David Kay & Conor O’Malley (2006 & 2020 respectively)

We hope you enjoy the conversation!

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We are always looking for new stories and love your help!  Squash Radio has already shared some audience stories but we are always looking for more.  Reach out to us on any social media app or email squashradio@gmail.com.  As always, thanks for listening!

Music brought to you from: www.bensound.com

 

#12: Raising Arizona Squash; James Dodson, Squash Dad, former Chicagoan, now a Phoenician, always playing, building

Paulette, Julius & James Dodson

In this episode we connect with James Dodson who launched his publishing career covering youth and poverty issues for Youth Communication and the RFK Memorial where he picked up the game.  He’s devoted to using squash to enrich the lives of young people.  And, in his new residence of Phoenix founded Arizona Squash, Inc.  He’s partnered with Empower College Prep, Grand Canyon University and the Family Life Center at North Phoenix Baptist Church to support a largely multi-ethnic under-served community in the city’s West Valley.

James is no stranger as to what it takes to build a successful squash program, he is a Founding Board Member and Past Board Chair of Chicago’s MetroSquash.  In 2005 MetroSquash was the first National Urban Squash initiative founded outside of the East Coast.  In 2015, MetroSquash raised $8 million and opened its primary squash and academic center near the campus of the University of Chicago to serve the program’s students.

This month Arizona Squash launched programming with its first class of students while undergoing a fundraising campaign to convert squash courts and recruit a full-time Executive Director.  To learn more visit, http://www.arizonasquash.org/.

Click on video to hear James Dodson pitching at SEED Spot