WASHINGTON, D.C. | OCTOBER 7, 2011 Access Youth Academy’s Renato Paiva was honored as a 2011 Coach of the Year award winner in a Washington, D.C. reception held by the national youth sports organization, Up2Us, and the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports & Childhood Obesity Task Force.
The Coach of the Year contest is a national nomination process launched by Up2Us to select deserving youth coaches who have inspired kids on and off the field. Renato was chosen out of a nationwide pool for having “transformed the lives of underprivileged inner city children in the San Diego area by teaching them the game of squash and getting them to excel in the sport, and in life.”
In the past year, Access Youth Academy became the first and only urban squash program to compete in the U.S. High School Squash Nationals at Yale University, ranking #11th in the nation (High School Girls’ Team). Academically, Access Youth Academy students boast a collective grade point average of 3.54 out 4.0, highest amongst all urban squash programs nationally.
As part of the awards ceremony, Renato was able to discuss the importance of youth sports programs with several members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Congressman Brian Bilbray.
“It is a true and humbling honor to be selected as a Coach of the Year,” stated Paiva. “This award is a testament not only to the power of squash, but to Access Youth Academy’s overall efforts to educate and enrich young people’s lives.”
In addition to speaking with members of Congress, Renato met with professional skater and San Diego native, Tony Hawk.
Renato was pleased to have the opportunity to share the mission of Access Youth Academy with many decision makers on the federal level, but was surprised by the selection.
“At Access, we serve forty underprivileged youth with intense squash training, academic sessions and a daily compassion for all our students,” Paiva remarked. “And while it seems like a small scale, we can focus on the needs of each individual student, and the achievements are huge.”
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Access Youth Academy operates on the generosity of community and individual support. Now in its fifth year of operation, the organization will soon see its first group of students graduate from high school.