HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — A program in Harlem is helping thousands of students reach their potential academic goals through the sport of squash.

The program is called StreetSquash. It’s a highly successful program that mixes the sport of squash with tutoring, serving 6th to 12th grade students and creating champions on and off the court. The sport is popular internationally, but it’s still gaining traction in New York City.

Thomas Overton, 14, and 16-year-old Khissaiyia Spencer are on their way to London; both are champion squash players from Harlem. StreetSquash has its massive headquarters between Lenox and Fifth Avenue, across from NYCHA’s King towers.

George Polsky is its founder. He’s an All-American national champion himself.  He knows firsthand how transformative the sport can be. The goal of game to outlast and outplay your opponent. It’s a sport that creates the confidence to push through challenges, getting stronger with each swing of the racquet.

Sixty students are receiving coaching on their squash games along with access to homework assistance, private one-on-one tutoring and mental health counseling. The program has been around for over 20 years and has helped place thousands of students into highly-ranked schools and colleges.

Overton has fallen in love with the sport of squash—his dream is to go pro.  Spencer wants to become a lawyer. It’s the discipline and dedication of the sport that they will take with them into life.

The program is free for students and families, but it relies on community  support. If you want give or want more information about the free after-school program, click here.