March 8, 2016 – San Diego, CA – 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.
About Access Youth Academy
Access Youth Academy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 and helps transform the lives of underserved youth through academic enrichment, health and wellness, social responsibility and leadership through squash. In partnership with The Preuss School at UCSD, children are selected in the 7th grade to enter the 12-year program, which is delivered in three phases – 6 years through high school, 4 years in college, and 2 years post college.During these fundamental years, we provide guidance for building essential life skills to becoming responsible and honorable adults. By creating a culture of healthy lifestyle and exercise, students find the discipline and dedication to unlock their potential and achieve their goals. Family members are involved in the transformation process, as these skills translate to all members of a family and ultimately a community. Access Youth Academy has achieved a 100% high school graduation rate, 97% four‐year college acceptance rate, secured over $4.2 Million in earned scholarships for 33 students, and won 13 National Urban Squash Titles.
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