Events, News

Mt. Hope Community Garden



A handful of Access Youth Academy students spent their Saturday volunteering at Mount Hope Community Garden in southeast San Diego. This was the first time the students have helped out at this site to fulfill their community services requirements. Mount Hope opened on September 28, 2011 under the nonprofit Project New Village. Their organizational goals are to connect residents to real and relevant resources which aid in managing their own health, self sufficiency and well being and to engage youth and adults of diverse backgrounds in wellness activities that benefit the community.

The students planted seasonal crops like broccoli, Oregon Peas, snap peas and collard greens. For some of the students it was their first time seeing the seeds of vegetables they enjoy at the dinner table. The students also spent time digging up a new plant bed for other crops and seeding amaranth and basil for planting next season. The students were also put to the task of saving a watermelon plant that was growing out of season. They lovingly named the watermelon plant Charles after Access’s Academic Director, Chase Fite.

Special thanks to Diane Moss and Kamir for helping organize the event for the students and for keeping them busy on Saturday.

Click here to see photos.


1st Annual Gala

1st Annual Gala

The first annual Access Youth Academy gala was held on Saturday October 5, 2013 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. It was an exciting and successful evening for everyone involved. The night began with guests being greeted by one of our fantastic AYA student ambassadors, who escorted them to registration. After registration, guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the Walnut Lounge while getting a chance to mingle and preview a model of the new Hoover High School facility. Silent Auction bidding also took place during this time. Auction items included a 2 night stay at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club with dinner at the Marine Room, 2 roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines, Padres tickets, a 1 night stay and a round of golf at the Doubletree by Hilton Golf Resort San Diego and more!

Following cocktail hour, the guests moved into the La Sala room for dinner and the evening program. Board Chair Blair L. Sadler welcomed everyone to the event, presented the new Access Youth Academy fundraising video and introduced AYA alumni Reyna Pacheco. After dinner, special guests Wimbledon Women’s Singles Champion ’62 Karen Susman and former No. 1 World Squash Player ’04 Thierry Lincou spoke with Blair and Executive Director Renato Paiva, sharing exciting stories and insights from their competition days.

Blair then moved on to announce Access Youth Academy’s exciting future with the Capital Campaign for our new $6M Hoover High School squash and educational facility. $3M has been committed from San Diego Unified School District; AYA has also raised an additional $2.1M from private donors. The evening closed with the Live Auction and closing remarks from the Board Chair. It was a memorable and fun night and AYA is looking forward to making the gala an annual event.

Click here to see photos from the event.


Squash Exhibition Event

Access Youth Academy hosted a Squash Exhibition with special guest Thierry Lincou, World Squash Champion ’04, and James Willstrop, World Squash Champion ’12.

Access hosted over 80 ticket purchasers and the students of Access to witness the exhibition match between Lincou and Willstrop. The match was intense and in the end there was only one winner. James Willstrop won 3-1. After the match, the pros then played Access students Alejandra and Marquis. Also Access Alumni and Columbia student Reyna Pacheco was spontaneously chosen to play a match against Thierry Lincou.

After all the matches, there was an audience Q&A and a raffle for a signed exclusive Thierry Lincou squash racquet, a signed Thierry Lincou jersey and a signed copy of James Willstrop’s book Shot and a Ghost.