Article courtesy of The Weston Town Crier.
Sydney Soloway of Weston wanted to find a way to combine her athletic passions and desire to better the community.
This past September, as a freshman and varsity squash player at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, she started SquashCares, a nonprofit organization that uses the sport of squash to help those less fortunate, by providing clothing and equipment to inner-city squash programs and recycling used squash balls into comfort blankets for children with ADHD and autism.
“It’s really just about helping people through the sport I love, ” Soloway said.
Her original inspiration came from a desire to help her two autistic cousins after reading an article outlining a similar program abroad. Soloway set out to create a charity that will not only help them, but also children all over the country.
SquashCares also provides squash rackets and clothing to inner-city squash programs SquashHaven in New Haven, Connecticut, and CitySquash, located in Bronx, New York.
Soloway said that friends, family and staff at Dana Hall were extremely helpful with offering feedback and tips along the way.
“My friends get my creative juices flowing, ” Soloway joked, and “are extremely supportive, ” so much so that they inspired Soloway’s self-designed SquashCares logo.
Soloway’s father has also been a huge administrative help through her journey, offering management guidance. He and her brother, Ben, have their own nonprofit, Project Green Ball, which finds productive uses for recycled tennis balls.
Dana Hall classmates and teachers continue to help Soloway throughout this journey. She has organized a school blanket-making event from April 17 to 19, with plans to collect around 1, 100 balls by then, which will be enough to make 11 blankets.
“They are very high quality blankets, ” Soloway explained “When kids with autism or ADHD are nervous, they have to squeeze something, and the balls are very helpful for that.”
To reach her goal, Soloway has set up collection bins on Dana Hall’s campus, as well as at local squash clubs, and other high schools and college campuses. She is also soliciting donations from large organizations. To date, SquashCares has collected a total of 780 balls.