My summer program just ended and it was truly bitter sweet! The entire time I thought about Access and how cool it was that I was able to live such an awesome experience. We had an agenda that was packed to the brim with hands-on experience and I was exposed to so many different possibilities and careers in the world of medicine. From eastern approaches like acupuncture and Chinese herbs to the western methods of CPR and inserting IVs, the Academy has really shifted my interests in the medical field. I came in the program wanting to be a pharmacist and know more about the world of prescription drugs. Though those interests are still strong and prominent, I also was exposed to the world of action and being a first-responder. It is thrilling, exciting, and very admirable work that I also see myself being a part of.
Two local San Diego students have been selected as the National Urban Squash Association (NUSEA)’s nominees for summer academic opportunities at two of the most illustrious private schools in the Atlantic Northeast. Sabrina Herrera from Paradise Hills (92139) and Lexa Lara from Shelltown (92113) were selected along with an additional 34 underserved students from across the nation to take part in these enriching summer experiences.
Sabrina will be traveling to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Lexa will be attending The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, much to the delight of Access Youth Academy Executive Director Renato Paiva.
“To be selected for one of these summer learning opportunities in what is a very competitive pool (students from 18 programs nationwide) is a big deal and testament to the strong and passionate essay applications. Students had to submit an essay of their students’ interests, qualities, and what makes them unique and a statement outlining their reasons for wanting to attend a summer school program.
“Once enrolled in summer school, students get to personalize their programs of study by working with dedicated teachers and having access to the full Academy campus. Sabrina and Lexa will be able to experience dorm life, set their curriculum schedule and engage with other students from across the nation and around the world.” Mr. Paiva said.
Both students attend the Preuss School at UCSD and are part of the Access Youth Academy program, which is a 12-year promise to underserved students who are first generation college bound.
“These rigorous boarding schools have been something that has never came up as an opportunity for me so this is an unbelievable experience. When I get older I want to feel like my hard work helped get me somewhere in life and strive to accomplish things for my family so they can feel like their sacrifices weren’t in vain. Ms. Lara (8th Grade) said.
“When I first heard about this opportunity I felt excited and grateful. The mere idea of having a chance of attending a summer opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity and will also expand my knowledge and find my passion to inspire and change the world in my own way” Ms. Herrera (freshman) said.
‘The Featured Five’
2 center court, 2nd row VIP Golden State Warriors tickets
3 Nights at The Lodges at Snowcreek Luxury Mammoth Condo
7 Night Stay at Capri by the Sea
4 x Clubhouse Season passes for the Del Mar 2017 racing season
$5000 Video Package from Infrastructure Productions
1 Hour Consult & Xrays at San Diego Stem Cell
A Blazer from the Ascot Shop in La Jolla
1 x 3 month family membership at the La Jolla YMCA
Family 4 Pack of tickets to Seaworld
3 course dinner for 2 at NINE-TEN Restaurant, Grande Colonial Hotel, La Jolla
Private Squash Lessons with Access Coach Eric Malo
Happy Hour for 10 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach
Renato Paiva Harvard Coaches Jersey
Padres Opening Day tickets vs the San Francisco Giants
And 20+ unique ‘Access curated’ experiences including trips to Maui and Big Bear, restaurant vouchers, theatre tickets, jewelry, wine packs, golf packages and MORE!
Access Youth Academy’s 10th Anniversary Gala is fast approaching. This is our most important event to date and there is no better time to celebrate our students success and our decade of impact than with our closest friends and supporters.
This event is far different from any other gala in the region with the evening’s hosts and key speakers being current students of the program, which helps provide an opportunity to showcase our stories and impact through their eyes. From the moment you are escorted from the valet, through our reception and dinner, you will learn more about why our students are graduating high school and being accepted into some of the most illustrious colleges in the nation.
By Kacey McCoig, Health and Wellness Coordinator.
Last week, I organized a panel discussion for our middle and high schoolers here at Access The panelist were amazing community leaders and the students amazing future leaders. This panel discussion gave them the opportunity to ask anonymous questions that were on their mind or questions that they were too embarrassed to ask. Most of the questions revolved around relationships, saying good-bye, rejection and quite frankly, sex. Not surprising at that age…and if we’re honest…we still share some of these same questions. If I’m totally honest, I was listening closely too and reaping some of the benefits as well.
One of our panelists, Sean Sheppard, the founder of Embrace, a non-profit here in San Diego focused on mobilizing college students to volunteer and serve underserved civilian and military populations all over the country, provided an easy to remember, simple, applicable and quite possibly true guideline to keep in mind. This was the two G’s.
It went something like this: There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and get-ers. Givers are individuals who give of themselves and what they have without any attached expectation to receive in return. Get’ers make their moves in order to…you guessed it…get.
Simple enough? I thought about it. What am I? I think I’m a giver. I’ve been accused of having expectations before, however. Is it always bad to expect…something in return? I agree with Mr. Sheppard, and I think I will move forward, keeping this close to the surface and see what effect(s) it has. I will be open to the possibility that I can improve, expect less, give more and more importantly, give from a place of true compassion and nurturing care for others. I will let you know my observations.
Perhaps you may want to take on this type of self-investigation yourself. If you’re on this site, then you’re seeking something Some truth for you. Some answers to your questions, even though they may be simply food-related. I do find; however, and you will come to see this if we shall ever meet, that many of our food and lifestyle choices stem from a bit of a deeper layer of the onion. This exercise, as is the advice, is simple (Let me know if you think otherwise) and therefore one that we may benefit from trying out.
So, what about you and how does this relate to your health and wellness? Who do you give to? Receive from? Are their stipulations and how do these arrangements serve you and those around you? Who do you surround yourself with? How do you and those around receive what is being offered..or take? What are you giving to yourself? Why? Or…why not? How does this affect you and if it’s less than a positive, desirable effect, what do you want for yourself instead? I encourage you to write the answers to these questions down. You may be surprised with what you find.
That’s a good start. Once we have our answers, lets take the next step. What can change, how and where, big or little, that will serve us and those around us? How can we be givers..in the most nurturing sense of the word? And, what’s stopping us?
Remember, this is not a selfish act. It is a universal truth that we have to take care of ourselves in order to really care for anyone else. This act is actually an extremely courageous act that will positively impact those around you. This message may have transformed a bit from its original context and meaning, but I think it’s applicability is what makes it such good advice. I encourage you to apply, and see what happens.
Second panel of the year organized by our Access Health & Wellness Coordinator, Kacey McCoig.
It’s been about 12 months since I started working with Access as their College Coordinator, and in those 12 months, I’ve come to learn a lot about working with students, managing and distributing information through various channels such as newsletters, Facebook pages, word of mouth, and many others, kept notes on services we could provide our students, and more. But the overall year was filled with repeat trial and error. From my experiences with the students, I have been able to distinguish what kinds of things would truly make an impact during their time in college. And it’s important to remember when thinking about these things that a college student’s time is taken up with so much more than just studying and mastering their academics. While this may be a key factor to their success, our students’ reach is much larger than that. As an organization, Access provides our students with the necessary resources to help reach that success. By providing services through health and wellness, academics, and professional/career development, our students are able to receive support in any aspect of their college life, regardless if it’s school related or personal.
Because Access is a 12-year program, we are able to assist them throughout their time in middle school and high school, further into their college education, and even a couple of years further after their graduation. With the help of my co-workers, our college students, and my personal experience as a student in college, I’ve been able to create Access Youth Academy’s college program.
THE COLLEGE PROGRAM
In short, our students first come into the program at the start of 7th grade, go through middle school and high school with the help of our Academic Coordinator, get through college, and continue on past their graduation from their universities with a degree in their hands. Seems pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of moving pieces in between that make it all come together. Because the program adds up to being 12 years (6 years in middle school and high school, 4 years in college, and 2 years post college), we call this the “12-year promise.” This extensive amount of time with our students allows us to prepare those in Phase 1 (middle school and high school) for the years in college ahead of them.
PHASE 2 AND 3
As college coordinator, I’m specifically in charge of Phase 2 and 3 of the program. These pertain to college freshman – seniors (Phase 2), and follows college graduates two years after their graduation (Phase 3).
Starting with Phase 1, Access begins to prepare their students for college by providing tutoring and guidance in order to better their chances at succeeding in Phase 2 and 3. Guidance includes a “College Readiness” program that allows the seniors to gain a full scope of what it’s like in college, from academics to building a social life, this college readiness program allows for these seniors to be better prepared for their freshman year.
Once in college, we’re there to help make our student’s lives a bit easier. Whether this be taking the stress away from a job interview through the help of our mentors and volunteers, providing an internship opportunity for the summer, helping our students network in the professional workforce, or help develop a personal career plan, Access guides our students through the various facets of their college lives.
While in Phase 2, our mission is to maximize our student’s academic experience, increase the amount of summer opportunities available to them, and focus on building and strengthening their future careers. Once our students graduate from their universities, our focus is more on personal development, their connection to the team, and on becoming ambassadors for themselves, the people around them, and Access Youth Academy as a whole. The idea is that by the time our students graduate from college, they’ll give back to the program through various ways such as mentorships, tutoring, volunteering or many others.
With all of this in mind, I took into account all the different aspects of “the college life” and put together what we call The College Program. What we had initially thought was an amazing idea, getting first generation college students to be as prepared and successful before college (and eventually through college) is all finally a reality. After ten years of operations, our first cohorts of Access students have finally reached a long awaited milestone: graduation. This means that as of this past month in May, we officially have graduated these students onto phase 3, making them the first to graduate from their universities and moved onto the workforce, graduate school, and many others.
I’m excited to see what this position has to bring in the upcoming months.
Looking back on these past eight years that I’ve been a student at Access, and now as college coordinator for the program, it’s great seeing all my teammates whom I once practiced with reach great success.
Wishing you all the best in your futures!
Access Youth Academy College Coordinator
What does it mean to be an engaged citizen? What are the different ways that each of us can make a difference in our respective communities? The Urban Squash Citizenship Tour will give 22 civically minded and academically accomplished high school and college students from across the country the opportunity to explore these questions and more over an 8 day swing across the East Coast.
We are proud to announce that both America S. and Access College Coordinator Eric Malo have both been selected to participate in Citizenship Tour in July. This tour is a terrific opportunity to become informed citizens and to highlight the importance of public service within the country’s 17 urban squash programs. The trip will focus on the topic of civil rights and its role in shaping our nation’s identity, politics, and history, beginning in New York City, travelling through Philadelphia, and ending in Washington, DC.
During the trip, students will spend time with leaders in government, journalism, education, policy and the nonprofit community; visit sites that have played a part in American history; engage with local urban squash programs; exercise and practice at university and urban squash facilities; and promote NUSEA’s local member programs and urban squash generally.
This is the third year of the Citizenship Tour and highlights of last year’s Tour included meetings with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Senator Al Franken, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions U.S. Department of the Treasury Amias Gerety, and Commissioner of NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal.
The group will again tour the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and New York Times Building in New York City, visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and tour the U.S. Capitol and the White House in Washington, D.C.
Access Youth Academy is happy to announce that Victor Marques has joined the development team as its new Development Coordinator.
Victor was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Ruy Barbosa University. Following his graduation he spent two years as an Associate Auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, providing external team audits for many non-profit and for-profit clients.
Making the big move to California, Victor spent almost three years with the non-profit organization Junior Youth Empowerment Program where he helped raise the capacity of young adolescents to understand the realities of their community and empower them to serve and transform their neighborhoods.
Get to know the team – A Q&A with Victor Marques
All NUSEA programs are evaluated bi-yearly by a revolving panel of Executive Directors from veteran urban squash programs. This year, Access was evaluated by NUSEA’s ED, Tim Wyant. The evaluation includes observing programming in all facets on and off court, interviewing students, parents, volunteers, our partner school, staff and board– all the moving pieces of the organization. The two day visit was an opportunity to observe the strengths of the program, strong work ethic of both students and staff, and the overall growth of the program.
While attending an Access Youth Academy board meeting, Tim commented on the success of the Access; highlighting the long-term results of the Access program, the caliber of colleges the students are accepted to, the strong partnership with Preuss, the development of a Health & Wellness program, as well as the “on the ground work” as being exceptional.