Athletics / Community

Sydney Soloway helps others through her love of sports

Sydney Soloway ’18 created SquashCares in 2014, using her love of squash to help the less fortunate in two ways: making “ball blankets” for those with autism or ADHD, and collecting used squash equipment for squash programs that are in need of extra squash rackets and sneakers.

Soloway was inspired to start this initiative because she has two disabled cousins and sees how beneficial the ball blankets are. According to the SquashCares website, ball blankets are helpful because they “provide sensory stimulation and provide a calming effect” for those with autism or ADHD. The ball blanket was inspired by a squash club in Finland called International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.

SquashCares has accomplished much in the short time it has been around. The organization has collected over 3000 balls and made over 10 ball blankets. One of the blankets was sent outside of the United States to Jordan. SquashCares collected 1,700 squash balls to make blankets in the 2014-15 school year, 600 balls above their goal.

“SquashCares combines the love and passion I have for the sport of squash to also help autistic individuals. It is easy to do this because I am directly related to people suffering from autism. You could say it’s a win-win,” says Soloway. Fellow squash player Campbell Brown ’17 describes Soloway as “passionate and determined” on the court, which contributes to her success with SquashCares.

On October 15, Soloway spoke at the US Open: Character and Sports Day, held at Drexel University in Pennsylvania. Character and Sports Day recognizes athletes who demonstrate sportsmanship and fair play and promote a sense of community among players and squash organizations. Soloway spoke in front of about 200 people about her inspirations, accomplishments, and future plans for SquashCares. Also, the Professional Squash Association has announced that they are partnering with SquashCares because their racket and shoe program is very similar to that of SquashCares.

She says, “I am really interested in having SquashCares expanded world wide, by having other high school students start their own SquashCares branches,” including California.” Soloway looks forward to seeing what the future of SquashCares holds.

Photo: Dana Hall students create a ball blanket. Photo credit: SquashCares website.