International Women’s Day takes place today and to mark the event, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) has picked some of the most inspirational and influential women ever to play squash, which includes homegrown talent and Access Youth Academy student Reyna Pacheco.

An affiliate of the World Squash Federation (WSF), the Professional Squash Association (PSA) is the global governing body responsible for the administration of both men’s and women’s professional squash around the world and released the following statement regarding Ms. Pacheco’s inclusion in this influential list.

“World No.79 Reyna Pacheco had to work hard to hone her talent and make it as a professional player and her story is certainly an inspirational one.

A Mexican immigrant who moved to the United States when she was just four years old, she found adapting to life in a different country a challenge but that soon changed when she was introduced to squash.

She became the first player to come through the urban squash program and begin a career as a professional and is proof that squash is open to everyone regardless of social status or upbringing”. 

At just 21 years of age and due to graduate from Columbia University this year as a Gates Millennium Scholar, Pacheco has a big future ahead of her and a mature outlook on both her own individual goals and the expectations the sport is putting on her shoulders with honors like the one today.

“I am honored to be included in a list with women who have truly achieved incredible things for our sport and while squash has come a long way in terms of gender equality both on and off the court, there are still a lot of steps left to take for our sport, for urban squash and for women around the world in general in terms of equality.

“I look forward to my own evolution as a positive role model for my community, the students at Access Youth Academy where this journey began back in 2006, and urban squash programs across the country. I hope to prove that we can all achieve our dreams regardless of the color of our skin, our economic status or our gender” Ms. Pacheco said

In a big day for the organization, Access Youth Academy Strategic Advisor Sarah Fitz-Gerald was also announced on the PSA’s prestigious list. Reyna spent this past summer in Australia working with former World Champion Fitz-Gerald and came back fired up for a big 2016 of which she has already cracked the top 100 rankings to a career high number 79 (ranked female player) in the world.

“I am elated to be named among people who I truly admire. I look forward to continue to work really hard on and off court to be like and achieve the kinds of things that these women have achieved and look forward to what the future holds” Ms. Pacheco said.

Reyna Pacheco in action for the Columbia University Squash team

Reyna Pacheco in action for the Columbia University Squash team


Access Vacancy – Development Officer (F/T)

Access Youth Academy is an academic enrichment program entering its 10th year of service and has an operating budget of over $800,000. This position will be appealing for someone looking to learn and develop new approaches to annual giving with a strong focus on metrics, strategy and modern approaches to donor relations.

This full-time position reports to the organizations Development Director and is responsible for helping execute effective cultivation approaches to increase the donor base and awareness of Access Youth Academy through a variety of in person meetings, presentations, and networking opportunities with key stakeholders.

The ideal candidate will be positive and adaptable, someone who asks great questions and wants to learn. They will also be enthusiastic about transforming young lives through education and narrowing the inequality of opportunity.

Grant Identification, Research & Proposal Preparation

  • Track deadlines related to grant opportunities for government, corporate and foundation donors and communicate regularly with Development Team
  • Identify and solicit new grant opportunities that align with the mission and goals of the organization
  • Assist Development Director with follow up reports and grant tracking throughout the calendar year

Special Events & Projects

  • Work with Development and Program staff to plan and execute yearly events including a large scale 10 year anniversary gala in October
  • Support Program staff on an as needed basis

Donor Tracking, Correspondence & Recognition

  • Maintain donor database on a regular basis including but not limited to inputting donor communication updates, updating contact information, importing and exporting lists, queries, etc. when necessary
  • Compose solicitation and cultivation letters to donors and prospects
  • Prepare acknowledgement letters for all gifts
  • Work with Development Staff including Executive Director on all fundraising campaigns
  • Working with donors to ensure gifts are stewarded correctly


  • Updating organization website
  • Produce monthly newsletter and contribute to social media strategy

Education, Skills and Experience

  • Bachelors degree
  • A minimum of 1-2 years in a nonprofit or similar fundraising role.
  • Experience using Salesforce a big plus.
  • Excellent writing and editing skills including letters to donors, outreach materials, e-mail campaigns, twitter, etc.
  • Proficiency with Mac desirable.
  • Experience and ability to work with all types of constituents such as donors, volunteers, board members, community and business leaders, government officials and others.
  • Ability to work independently, demonstrate initiative, and to complete and report on assignments.
  • Ability to pay attention to detail and also remain oriented to the “big picture”.

Access Youth Academy is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, age, disability, pregnancy, medical condition or covered veteran status.

Salary Range: $38,000 – $43,000

How to Apply: Please send a cover letter together with your resume to Renato Paiva, Executive Director:


News, Press

Ruybal Becomes First Ever Student To Be Elected As A Board Member Of An Affiliate NUSEA Organization

Access Youth Academy is proud to announce that Natalie Ruybal (17 years old), has been appointed to serve a one year term on the organizations Board of Directors as the student representative of over 90 first generation college bound students from some of the most underserved communities in San Diego.

In this historic appointment, Ms. Ruybal’s passion for squash, art and robotics has seen her become the first student ever appointed to the peak decision-making body of one of the 22 National Urban Squash and Education Associations (NUSEA) member organizations.

Access Youth Academy Executive Director, Renato Paiva, highlighted this appointment as a reflection of the organizations commitment to provide leadership opportunities to students as part of the programs four pillars of academic enrichment, health and wellness, leadership and social responsibility.

“At Access Youth Academy we believe that every child should have equal access to achieve their full potential and while this will be a steep learning curve for Natalie, it will end up being an amazing opportunity for her to work with some of San Diego’s most accomplished professionals and be a strong advocate for the needs of her peers” Mr. Paiva said.

Ruybal, a junior at the award winning Preuss School at UCSD in La Jolla, was elected via a two-step process including a popular vote among Access students, and a staff selection panel.

“I am honored to have the chance to serve on the Access board. It’s a great opportunity for students like me to experience real life leadership roles first hand and give those that the program serves an all-important voice at the table.

“I want to show that young people can make a real contribution and perhaps provide a catalyst for other urban squash programs across the country to adopt student representation on their own boards” Ms. Ruybal said.

Board Chair Blair Sadler, who, as the former President and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital, is no stranger to high-level board negotiations, was excited about the new perspectives Ms. Ruybal would bring to the table.

“The Board recognizes that establishing strong links between itself and the students at Access Youth Academy and providing them with a platform to present their viewpoints will result in more informed and impactful outcomes.

“Natalie is an accomplished young woman, with plenty of great ideas and will be a true asset for the board as we chart our course for the future in what is our tenth anniversary year” Mr. Sadler said.

The new student representative position will serve a full, non-consecutive, one-year term beginning in February 2016.

Executive Director Renato Paiva, Board Chair Blair Sadler, new Board Member and Access student Natalie Ruybal, together with Access supporter Samantha Begovich, celebrate this historic appointment for all NUSEA programs nationwide.

Campaigns, News

Why 2015 Was My Year for Giving Back & Why It Should Be Yours Too…

By Ryan Ginard, Development Director.

As 2015 draws to a close I’m finding myself more often than not reflecting on the year that was. Many of my own personal highlights come from dealing with the joys and challenges of a rapidly expanding family (new puppy, baby due in February), evolving as a fundraiser here in my new role at Access, and being a contributing member of my community, regardless of where I came from (its Australia if you were wondering…). I really am at a point where I’m truly excited for what my future holds.

However, for the record it has to be noted that I have been blessed with opportunities at every turn and continue to be afforded this luxury to this very day.

While I am myself a first generation college student from a true working class family (mother is a nurse, dad was a cleaner), I wasn’t born into poverty, nor did our family unit break down over my formative years. This structure, stability, and support is something many were deprived of and to me is one thing that I have never taken for granted.

Being aware of my own upbringing has shown me that giving back is paramount. I believe that no-ones life story should be pre-determined by what zip code they were born into and each and every one of us have the resources to be able to narrow the inequality of opportunity for those that are most at risk of never graduating from high school, let alone reaching their undoubted potential.

That’s ultimately what drew me to Access Youth Academy. The possibility of working first hand with amazing kids who have to overcome their own unique adversities to achieve their dreams of going to college was – yet another opportunity – too good to miss. In the end it was a great decision – there is not one day that passes when I’m not inspired by their commitment and determination to succeed.

I mentioned earlier about things being afforded to us to never be taken for granted. We can’t do this here with Access either. Its critical that we continue to support the dreams of these students by making donations to ensure they can have that extra SAT prep training, donating our time to help mentor these kids who crave advice from a friendly voice when they most need it, and much, much more.

Make no mistake, our successes are fuelled by the generosity of our donors and we continuously need them to go that extra mile to help us deliver our award winning programs.

These holidays I encourage you to help us continue making a difference in one of three ways;

  1. GiveThanks to your generous support, all Access Youth Academy services are offered with no cost to our student’s families. This year The Parker Foundation is also matching donations up to $15k!
  2. VolunteerOffer help to students with their homework, special academic projects, & applications/scholarships to extra-curriculum programs.
  3. Become a MentorMentors are committed to creating a long-lasting relationship with one of our Access Youth Academy students. Mentors provide support for their mentees in a number of situations, where all a young person needs is an experienced friend to help guide them through their academic, professional, and personal endeavors.

We have a lot to look forward to in 2016 here at Access Youth Academy. So lets not take too much time to reflect on the year that was but be excited for what we can all achieve together in the years ahead.

Happy Holidays.


Ryan recently joined the students for a community service event with The Hunger Project to help feed 620 homeless San Diegan's - a truly rewarding experience for all!

Ryan (right) recently joined the students for a community service event with The Hunger Project to help feed                                         620 homeless San Diegan’s – a truly rewarding experience for all!



Why I’m Thankful

By Christine Trinidad, Program Director

Thanksgiving has always felt more like a season than a holiday for me. The air is brisk, dusk is prettier, sweaters are back in rotation. This year is different though. Today as I was on my morning commute, I started running through all the names of the college students who could be coming home for break, wondering how long would they be here for, when would they stop by the facility, how their college experience has been going so far. I have been working with Access Youth Academy long enough now to see students growing up, continuing on to college, and now coming home for break. I get to hear about their new world and all the things they are excited about. I get to see how all their hard work in high school has paid off and that this new experience is changing them for the better in so many ways.

I am grateful that I get to wake up everyday and work towards something that is bigger than me. I get to work with people who want to help students achieve more by becoming more than they could’ve ever thought of. I am a part of something that continues to grow everyday.

I have always been a big fan of turkey. Big fan. This Thanksgiving, along with baking with my mom, I have a tradition of the season that is new to me. Something that brings me joy and is simple in its existence. I am really proud and excited to see our students and grateful to be part of the urban squash movement.




July 23, 2015 – San Diego, CA – Two exceptional students from the Access Youth Academy are currently participating in the Annual National Urban Squash and Education Association’s (NUSEA) Citizenship Tour. The tour, now in its second year, is aimed to encourage civic engagement and public service and encompasses several stops on an eight-day athletic and academic journey from New York to Washington, D.C.

Kevin Le and Johnny Hayes – who were selected through a competitive application process – joined 19 other student athletes from the 17 national urban squash programs, to learn how to become more civically engaged through the lens of civil rights and its role in shaping our nation’s identity, politics, and history.


Access Youth Academy Executive Director, Renato Paiva, highlighted that the Tour was a terrific opportunity for students to learn and think critically about the nation’s present-day issues.

“During the trip, Kevin and Johnny will have the once in a lifetime experience of spending time with leaders in government, journalism, education, policy and the nonprofit community.

“In the end it’s about inspiring these young students to make a difference and becoming informed citizens by helping them understand the importance of public service” Mr. Paiva said.


The eight day tour has already seen meetings with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Franken (D-MN) and Heitkamp (D-ND), and New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Segal.

Kevin Le, 17, was quick to mention his own tour highlights which included chance to play a game of squash with Mr. Segal at the Harvard Club and discussing the issues of student lottery picks for local charters schools, of which he was one at the Preuss School at UCSD.

“Meeting with Secretary Duncan made me feel more inspired to work hard to make sure that everyone gains the education they deserve in the future. Nobody’s education should be determined by a lottery pick.

“I know that it is really difficult to enroll in these types of schools because of their highly selective system and process. This fact makes me more motivated to become engaged in our society and try to help fight for education for all” Le said.

Kevin Le will be heading to Wesleyan College in the fall on a full 4-year scholarship, with Hayes (16) beginning his senior year at The Preuss School.


Access on The NUSEA Citizenship Tour, Day 4


Monday July 21,2015

Today was a very productive day.  I had the opportunity to speak with Elijah E. Cummings, our Congressman representative of Maryland, it was very inspiring because he taught all of us about passion and using that flaming intensity of your passion to help others. I enjoyed the fact that he told us that no matter through the good, bad and ugly, always value the things that come because it helps you grow as a person. His talk at the SquashWise facility at the Meadow Mill Club in Baltimore was very moving and personal because the SquashWise students were present with us, so there were multiple crowds of diverse, underrepresented students who could take advantage of Cummings’ great ideals.

After playing squash at the Meadow Mill Club and eating Chipotle, we headed to the Capitol of America. At first when I saw D.C., I fell in love with it because it felt like a metropolitan area similar to NYC, but it was a lot less crowded and busy. It was calm and quiet.

We then came over to visit the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, and those statues are HUGE. Stay tuned for more.

-Kevin L


Campaigns, News

Planned Giving Partnership

Access Youth Academy joins The San Diego Foundation in new planned giving partnership.

 Access Youth Academy is proud to partner with The San Diego Foundation who have shown 40 years of commitment to the success of San Diego’s nonprofit organizations, and understand that organizations such as ours are key to sustaining and enhancing the region for future generations.

This new partnership will go a long way in assisting Access in our future endowment-building and planned giving efforts including:



An endowment is a permanent fund whose assets are invested to generate income to be used for charitable purposes. An endowed gift is invested rather than spent with the investment of money generating an ongoing source of income year after year to fund our programs.

The San Diego Foundation manages over 150 nonprofit endowments with an in-house Chief Investment Officer who oversees the management of such endowments.


Access to Planned Giving Specialist

Access Youth Academy has a Development team of two staff members but in some instances of more sophisticated giving vehicles The San Diego Foundation can lend their expertise. The San Diego Foundation employs a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving, who can provide information on potential gifts of real estate, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and various tax laws. Our specialist is also available to attend our donor meetings as appropriate.


Professionally Prepared Gift Illustrations

Joining with The San Diego Foundation allows Access Youth Academy to use specialized planned giving software and create illustrations and simple graphics of various planned giving opportunities. The document includes the gift amount, charitable deduction amount, tax implications and a comprehensive description of the specific planned gift and how it works. These illustrations are provided free of charge to Access for use with our donors. Donor names can also remain confidential.


Charitable Gift Annuity Program

In exchange for an asset, such as cash or appreciated stock, Charitable Gift Annuities (CGAs) provide a fixed income stream for donors and at the same time can benefit Access youth Academy. Nonprofits who want to offer this popular planned giving option are required to have a CGA license by The State of California’s Department of Insurance which is extremely expensive and due to this are normally held only by big Foundations and Universities. Because of this planned giving partnership, Access can use The San Diego Foundation’s CGA license. More than 25 nonprofits across the county have already taken advantage of this opportunity.


Charitable Trusts Program

As a partner of The San Diego Foundation, Access is able to obtain lower management fees on Charitable Trusts, savings that can be passed onto our donors. These reduced fees are due to The San Diego Foundation’s relationship with U.S. Bank Charitable Services, which manages a portion of The Foundation’s planned giving assets.

We are pleased to partner with The San Diego Foundation to offer these charitable gift opportunities. We truly believe this support will help Access become a truly sustainable nonprofit which will be able to transform young lives in perpetuity and help improve the quality of life within all of our communities.

For more information on the range of planned giving options available to donors of Access Youth Academy or to receive brochures on planned giving and charitable gift annuities please contact our Development Director, Ryan Ginard, on 858-202-0406 or via email


News, Press





Access Youth Academy has announced its 4th graduating class and their college acceptances. The six students, Anais O.  (UCSD), Chelsie D. (Colorado College), Kevin C. (Denison), Kevin L. (Wesleyan), Sarabi R. (Cal – Berkeley), and Zeke S. (UCSD), joined the Access program in 2009 and through their hard work and determination have collectively leveraged $980,000 in scholarships across their four years in college to help them begin this exciting new chapter in their lives.

Executive Director, Renato Paiva, was immensely proud of this years graduating class having seen them grow and develop into confident, driven and compassionate young adults.

“Every kid deserves an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential and these students are now well on their way to achieving this. They come to Access without many of the advantages some families in the region are blessed with, but through our program and its focus on academic enrichment, health and wellness, leadership and social responsibility, they leave with so much more – an expanded family and support network they can always call on upon.”

“Although we are sad to see them go (with many leaving San Diego for pastures new), we are excited to continue working with them through the next phase of Access’ 12 year promise” Mr. Paiva said.

This is the fourth graduating class from Access Youth Academy and next year will see a number of significant milestones. Not only will the organization celebrate its tenth year of transforming young lives, but also see the first wave of college graduates from tertiary institutions such as Columbia, Amherst, the University of Pennsylvania and five students that went to local Universities such as San Diego State and San Diego Christian College.

All six students were formally recognized for their achievements at the Access Youth Academy 2015 Graduation celebration held on Sunday June 7th, 2015.

rsz_1img_4376Photo (L-R): Scott Barton (Principal, The Preuss School UCSD), Anais O., Sarabi R., Chelsie D., Kevin C., Kevin L., Zeke S., Renato Paiva (Executive Director, Access Youth Academy)


Celebrate 2015 Graduates!

Join us in celebrating the 2015 Access Youth Academy Graduates.   Team Four’s graduation will be held on June 7th at 3PM at the home of Blair and Georgia Sadler.  Please RSVP!