Racquet Up Detroit (RUD)
Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.
Jon has been an avid squash player for many years. When he heard about the plan to build a mentorship-based squash program in Detroit eight years ago, he jumped at the opportunity to get involved and has since played a transformational role with Racquet Up Detroit (RUD). RUD is the local chapter of the Squash and Education Alliance, a program that maintains 20 similar chapters across the country. In Detroit, RUD plays an important role in reaching kids on both the squash court and classroom, showing them a bigger world and reinforcing the idea that they can escape the cycle of poverty that affects many of their communities.
Jon was one of the first supporters of RUD back when the organization was just a vision. He acted as an early donor, allowing RUD to meet a matching challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Over the past years, Jon’s support has grown from being a donor to becoming a hands-on volunteer working with the students on a weekly basis. Most Wednesdays, Jon spends a couple of hours on the court, instructing students on technique and feeding balls. Jon is an accomplished squash player – and plays out of the Birmingham Athletic Club and has won multiple State and Club championships. His court presence inspires the students.
For Jon, one of the most enjoyable aspects of his volunteerism stems from the outstanding success RUD students have enjoyed since the program’s inception. Of the original group of students Jon worked with, 100% have achieved college admissions and many have secured full scholarships. Parents of RUD students gush about the program, sharing that it has truly been life changing for their children and motivated them to excel not only on the squash court but also in the classroom thanks to tutoring supports. Jon looks forward to watching these students’ continued success throughout college and into adulthood.