An interview with Ann Guinan, Executive Director of RhodySquash
CR: Many people have heard of the game of Squash, but have no idea how it fits into a charitable organization. In a nutshell, what is RhodySquash all about?
AG: We provide an enrichment program for children in Newport County that incorporates health, wellness and athletics in the form of Squash, plus academics and self–actualization. Through sport and this fast-paced game, they learn the spirit of being apart of a team, get a physical outlet and a real confidence boost. We also expose our students to high school and college opportunities.
CR: Wow, can you give me some statistics about the program?
AG: We run the program from October – June and have 16 kids participating. Most of these kids are from families living below the poverty level. According to Kids Count RI during the 2014-15 year, 50 kids were homeless in the Newport public schools system. It is shocking the level of poverty that exists in Newport and its surrounding communities. We seek to source children from these backgrounds that would not otherwise have an opportunity to play squash and benefit from the program. The cost for the program per child is $2,400. We are 100% funded by donations.
CR: Does RhodySquash partner with any other organizations?
AG: Absolutely. We could not fulfill our mission without the help of a few key organizations like St. George’s, Newport Community Squash and the Boys and Girls Club. For example, St. George’s generously provides us with court time on their beautiful campus and the Boys and Girls Club provides us with transportation.
CR: What are the future plans for the program and how can people get involved?
AG: We are always looking for tutors to help the kids in the afternoons. Of course, you can always donate money, come to our fundraisers and get more info on our website: www.rhodysquash.org. We hope to continue to grow the program and eventually find it a permanent home on the island. Know any good realtors?
CR: Definitely! Now one last question and you can get back to work. What is the best thing about your job?
AG: That’s easy. Seeing a kid that never played sport before, or was involved in anything extracurricular for that matter, come alive on the court and watching their report cards improve term after term.