SquashCares, a nonprofit that sews old squash balls into therapy blankets, held its third annual sewing event Saturday, May 20, at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
With the help of seventy-five volunteers over a four-hour period, SquashCares met their record goal of sewing fifteen ball blankets, with three more blankets in progress.
Dana Hall School junior Sydney Soloway, a squash player, founded the organization in 2014 as a freshman.
Soloway, inspired by a similar movement at a squash club in Finland, started collecting used squash balls. Once destined for the garbage, Soloway knew those balls could be used to make therapy blankets for children with attention disorders, like ADHD and ADD, or children with autism. The weight of the blanket—with the added texture of the squash balls—acts as a calming agent.
“Along with our new partnership with Framingham State University’s Phi Upsilon Omicron national honors society this year, next year we are expanding from our base in Boston to Philadelphia, New York City, and Providence,” Soloway said. “While we are still working out the details, we are proud to announce that next year we will be teaming with the community service organizations of Drexel University, Parsons School of Design, and Rhode Island School of Design to sew ball blankets for SquashCares.”
Since its founding, SquashCares have sewn forty-five blankets.
“Next year, we hope to double our ball collection, ball blanket count, and equipment collection goals from this year.” Soloway said. “We would like to collect 10,000 balls, sew fifty ball blankets, and collect 200 pieces of equipment. We are looking for students in the Philadelphia, New York City, and Providence area to aid in facilitating ball collection.”