News

SquashWise is Hiring! Squash Coordinator Position

SquashWise seeks an experienced squash player with an interest in youth development to be the Middle School Squash Coordinator at Baltimore’s urban squash and education program, SquashWise. SquashWise is a unique youth development program providing long-term academic and social support to public school students in Baltimore City, combining intensive academic tutoring with coaching in the sport of squash. The Squash Coordinator will be responsible for working with 40 Baltimore City middle school students, mostly beginners, in squash programming, fitness activities, tournament planning, and evaluation of athletic progress. This is a unique opportunity for a high-level squash player with an interest in youth programming to expand and improve the services of a unique nonprofit. The successful candidate will bring a desire to enrich and motivate Baltimore City Public School youth, using squash as a tool for inspiration and engagement.Job responsibilities:• Create and implement a daily squash and fitness curriculum, including teambuilding exercises and lessons on sportsmanship and athleticism.• Recruit, train, and manage squash volunteers, ensuring volunteers at every session.• Manage squash tournament schedule and entries: U.S. squash entries, tournament entry forms, local matches, squash leagues.• Document progress on each student: collect data on attendance, squash skills, fitness, etc. • Coordinate and chaperone student transportation to and from school for program sessions, including Activity Bus and minivan driving (training provided; standard driver’s license and clean driving history required).• Build meaningful and lasting relationships with students, teachers and parents.• Manage squash equipment: maintenance, cleaning, shoes, new orders. • Assist with administrative duties as needed.• Hours: Weekday hours from 11am-7pm; Saturdays from 1-3pm; occasional weekend tournaments, local and travel.Qualifying Criteria:• Squash and coaching skills; college-level varsity experience preferred.• B.A. or A.A. preferred, but not required.• Experience working or volunteering in urban squash programs is a plus, but not required.• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.• Excellent time management skills. • Experience working with youth, especially inner-city youth.• Current driver’s license and clean driving record; three years of driving experience required.• Pass a criminal history background check.Start Date: Summer 2017Salary: Commensurate with experience; benefits include health insurance and retirement matching.Contact: Send resume and cover letter to apply@baltimoresquashwise.org Deadline: June 30, 2017

Tuesday Apr 18th 2017
SquashWise invited to testify in Annapolis for a bill to support apprenticeships

SquashWise's Executive Director, Abby Markoe, and Board member, Dr. Bill Durden, submitted invited testimony to the Maryland General Assembly's Ways and Means Committee, in support of a bill to increase apprenticeship opportunities for young adults in Maryland. This aligns with SquashWise's goal to provide its students with a variety of pathways to continue their education after high school. Read on for their testimony:

Testimony by Dr. Bill Durden:

Dear Chairman (Delegate) Kaiser:

I write to support strongly and unconditionally HB 1384 – Task Force to Study Implementing the German Academic-Apprenticeship Model for Adults Without a High School Education sponsored in the 2017 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly by Delegate Samuel “Sandy” Rosenberg from the 41st Legislative District of Baltimore City.

While at first glance I appear to a person who has enjoyed inevitably the fruits of a distinguished American higher education actually there was no such inevitability. I am a first-generation college student in the strictest definition. Nobody in the direct maternal and paternal lines of my family attended college, much less obtained a degree. Many did not graduate high school.

Having grown up amongst relatives who did not attend college and some of whom did not graduate high school, I witnessed the numerous negative emotional and economic effects upon people not having a credible alternative educational path to a college education—a path that would respond to their distinctive and much-needed technical and vocational skills. My uncle is a case in point. It is most likely that he did not graduate high school and yet I witnessed in him an incredible talent for all things mechanical. However, since he did not have an aptitude for strictly academic work and no other reputable and easily accessible alternative education in mechanical and technical skills was available, he just started to do odd jobs for the county road office—plowing snow, for example—and ended up as a cardboard box line assembly worker without advancement for several decades. He was let go in his 60s just before the date when he would have received retirement benefits. He was given a cooked ham instead!

Throughout my youth I witnessed in my uncle a person defeated and depressed in large part by an educational system and a society that did not take advantage formally and systematically of his vocational talents and rendered him and his talents little to no respect. I attribute his heavy drinking (and death in part to this self-destructive practice) to his professional disappointment and the inability of society to respond systemically to his vocational talent.

My advocacy of a credible alternative to a college education is long standing. Nearly 25 years ago, one of my colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University, Arne Tangerlini, and I argued in a Baltimore SUN op-ed that Maryland—given its seeming enlightened view towards education and the economy—should assume national leadership and “consider [adapting] Germany’s ‘dual system’ of academics and apprenticeships.” And most recently, I revisited that call with another op-ed in the Baltimore SUN (January 2, 2017) entitled, “Creating a credible alternative to college.” I contextualized the argument to the contemporary imperatives issuing from numerous quarters—to include the federal government—calling for “College for All.”

As I assert the need for intensified attention to vocational education, I must acknowledge the critical work that is being done by the CTE movement. Career Technical Education (CTE) “provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation.” I would assert, however, that CTE has not yet been securely embraced and acknowledged by the educational establishment nor has it garnered the absolute respect of the American public for the career-preparatory paths of its graduates. CTE also, by definition, does not focus upon adults who have not graduated high school, much less college as is the intended focus of HB 1348.

Maryland is also beginning to see very positive initiatives by non-profit organizations to introduce apprenticeships as an option for career advancement and for all ages. I cite, for example, TransZed. A statement in my correspondence with its president, Kimberly Neal, provides a concise statement of its ambition. Critical to note is the age of its first participant—a 51-year-old-man.

“In June of last year, I left my career as an attorney to become President of…TranZed Apprenticeship Ventures. Since that time, we have built our apprenticeship model and registered 4 occupations in the IT sector – becoming Maryland’s very first registered non-traditional apprenticeship program. Our goal is to meet the needs of area businesses and job-seekers by offering a viable option to college and a lucrative career path. Our first apprentice began work in December – a 51 year-old career-changer – and we now have about 20 more apprentices (from all age groups and walks of life) beginning employment within the next two months. Businesses large and small are buying into the concept, as we offer a customized approach to combine the on-the-job learning with classroom instruction. Additionally, all of our apprentices are assigned a mentor to work with them throughout the one-year apprenticeship and to help ensure that progress is made.

“I applaud the initiative of organizations like TranZed, but it appears to me that they are valiantly operating in isolation and without the organizing power, advocacy and resources of the state of Maryland and its various agencies to propel them forward as well as linking them to a coherent “system” in our state of schools, community colleges, universities and non-profit and for-profit organizations that would establish a credible, rational and well-acknowledged alternative to a college education.

It is because I think that the German academic-apprenticeship model CANNOT simply be adapted as is to the State of Maryland, that I advocate so strongly for HB 1384. German historical and societal conditions supporting apprenticeships are arguably quite different from those of Maryland and the greater United States. We must thoughtfully and responsibly identify the conditions that have proved important to the flourishing of apprenticeships in Germany and then determine whether such conditions exist in Maryland, and if not, what must be done to establish them or work around them by asserting our own distinctive assets adapted from our American traditions.

It is important to note here these distinctions. Tamar Jacoby in an October 16. 2014 article in Atlantic Monthly entitled “Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers,” identifies them concisely. They are:

- Cost: German businesses invest heavily in apprenticeship programs.- Business Mentality: German companies look beyond the short term ROI and focus upon the long term advantages to their respective companies and society in general

- The Centralization of the German Education System: An interesting question for the Task Force proposed in HB 1384 is whether a U.S. state such as Maryland could proximate this German advantage in its apprenticeship system? To what degree could the various technical support and vocational professions, encouraged by the state of Maryland, agree to uniform, high quality statewide training curricula and certification so that graduates had job flexibility over a lifetime and business and the public had assurance of uniform standards of performance by certified graduates? The larger challenge, of course, is for leadership in this area throughout the United States.

- A Pervasive Societal Appreciation of Practical Study and resulting Occupations and a respect for those people who are employed in that study and those jobs -- quite in contrast to the U.S. where practical study and occupation are not universally appreciated.

Again, I support strongly and unconditionally this effort to study the adaptation of the German academic-apprenticeship to adults without a high school degree in selected districts. The time is now as so many of our youth are left without respected educational alternatives that match their practical talents. As a consequence these students in high numbers drop out of education completely. The consequences upon them and the society they inhabit are severe in the form of unemployment, poverty, crime in some cases and mental illness.

Thank you.
William G. Durden, Ph.D.
President Emeritus, Dickinson College
Chief Global Engagement Officer, The International University Alliance/Shorelight Education
Joint Appointment Professor (research), School of Education, Johns Hopkins University

Testimony by Abby Markoe

SquashWise is a support system for aspiring Baltimore youth, combining coaching in the sport of squash with a long-term program of academic support, mentoring, counseling, and preparation for college and career placements after HS graduation. We work with students through middle school, high school, and through age 25 as they transition to college and career placements.We are beginning to explore apprenticeships as an exciting opportunity for our graduates to access continuing education and career stability.

According to the Job Opportunity Task Force, Youth unemployment in Baltimore City is 56% overall (46% among high school graduates), and average income is just under $15,000 among youth aged 19-21. Our city’s youth are significantly under-employed or unemployed. (http://www.jotf.org/Portals/0/Baltimore_City_Youth_Profile.pdf)

We must do so much more to prepare our young people for success. Investing in the apprenticeship model will add an important post-secondary pathway for SquashWise students, and their peers across Maryland.

While SquashWise aims for youth to graduate high school and aspire for continuing education in a variety of forms thereafter, we applaud the focus of this bill to make apprenticeships a viable option for young adults who did not finish high school. Apprenticeship programs provide society with well- trained professionals who can perform much needed services, and they offer young people a chance to become economically stable and positive contributors to our society.

SquashWise is proud of the fact that 90% of our graduates to date have matriculated to college. But in our 9-year history, we realize that the traditional college pathway is not enough for all of our students.

We strongly believe in the power of post-secondary education to increase our students’ chances for stability and life success. Some of our students are ready for college immediately after high school. Others are not. Some are excited by the idea of continuing their education on a college campus. Others are not.

This year, thanks to the visionary leadership of SquashWise board member, Dr. Bill Durden, we are broadening the ways that we prepare our students for success after high school. SquashWise recognizes the power that squash has to create connections for our students that will advance them into higher education and/or careers, depending on students' individual paths.

We are excited that Maryland is emerging as a visionary leader in supporting apprenticeships.

Submitted by,
Abby Markoe
Executive Director
SquashWise

Thursday Mar 9th 2017
SquashWise Wins Henrietta Lacks Award

SquashWise provides academic support, college and career prep along with coaching in the sport of squash

The Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, which is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, announced Saturday that the winner of the sixth annual Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award is SquashWise. The program uses squash to develop scholar-athletes and also provides college and career preparation to Baltimore City youth.

The Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award was established in honor of former Turner Station resident and Johns Hopkins cancer patient HenriettaLacks, whose cells helped make groundbreaking advances in medical research and serves as an enduring reminder of her contribution to medical science and to her community.

The $15,000 award recognizes a Baltimore community-based organization that is collaborating with Johns Hopkins University to improve the health and well-being of Baltimore residents.
Robert Blum, MD, PhD, MPH, director of the Urban Health Institute, presented the award on Saturday at the 2016 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture. Abby Markoe, MA, executive director of SquashWise, accepted the award. She was joined by board member, William Durden, PhD, and three current SquashWise students.

“SquashWise is a perfect example of how you can direct your passion—in this case, the sport of squash—to making a sustained, long-term impact on the lives of young people in Baltimore City,” says Blum, who is also chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School.

SquashWise has deep roots with Johns Hopkins University, beginning when Markoe co-founded the organization in 2007 when she was a graduate student in History of Medicine program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Since then, SquashWise has developed ties with Hopkins’ Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center, where SquashWise students practice squash and study, along with volunteer and internship partnerships with SOURCE, the community engagement and service-learning center for the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. SquashWise also works with the Center for Social Concern at Hopkins, the Johns Hopkins School of Education, the community-service co-ed fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and the Johns Hopkins squash teams.

SquashWise will use the $15,000 award to add a new class of 20 “rookies” this academic year and continue to support SquashWise students in middle school, high school and college.

Tuesday Dec 13th 2016
6th Annual Jack Laporte SquashWise Rally Set for May 7 2017

Join us for the 6th annual Jack Laporte SquashWise Rally, a team-based tournament fundraiser, in memory of our board member, Jack Laporte. The event brings 12 teams together to "rally" for SquashWise. Each team commits to raising at least $5,000, and many teams go above and beyond this goal. Last year, we raised more than $300,000! The tournament is on May 7th at Meadow Mill Athletic Club.abbym@baltimoresquashwise.org443.682.7126

Thursday Feb 25th 2016
SquashWise headlines in the Baltimore Sun!

Read about our graduates and our program in this front-page, headlining article in the Baltimore Sun!

 

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/bs-md-ci-squash-wise...

Monday Apr 7th 2014
Student beats author Wes Moore in squash match!

On Monday March 18th, 10th grade SquashWise student, Nytiece Powell, challenged best-selling author Wes Moore to a squash match. Only his second time on the squash court, Mr. Moore played admirably in an exciting three-game match. There was jumping, diving, and sprinting by both players, but in the end Mr. Powell triumphed and took the 1st place trophy. The match was viewed by Baltimore City Schools' CEO, Dr. Andres Alonso and Chairman of the School Board, Neil Duke, along with SquashWise students, parents, volunteers, and Board members. Mr. Moore is a fantastic role model for students. His book, The Other Wes Moore, tells the true story of two boys growing up in Baltimore who take divergent paths -- one becomes a college graduate, Rhodes scholar, and decorated military officer. The other is imprisoned for life for murder and armed robbery. The author's life path shows us the incredible potential of all young people, with the right amount of support, mentoring, opportunity, and dedication. We are excited to continue a relationship with the author, both on and off the squash court.

Wednesday Mar 20th 2013

Recent News

SquashWise is Hiring! Squash Coordinator Position
SquashWise is Hiring! Apply to be a Squash Coordinator. Click "view" for information.
SquashWise invited to testify in Annapolis for a bill to support apprenticeships
Click "view" to learn more and read the testimony.
SquashWise Wins Henrietta Lacks Award
Baltimore Youth Development Program Receives Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award

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