Squash Haven relies on a small full time staff based at Yale whose work is complemented by the volunteer efforts of the University’s squash teams and academic volunteers.
Gordon Armour Volunteer Teacher and Squash Coach Gordon@Squashhaven.org Gordon recently retired from teaching English and being a class dean at Choate for 33 years. His daughter Charlotte was the AmeriCorps Vistas staff member two years ago and Shanghaied him into teaching a class at Squash Haven in the summer of 2017. Gordon also coached squash at Choate, so he will be helping with both enrichment and squash. He lives in New Haven, rides his bike many miles when the weather allows and plays the classical guitar. His wife Anne often bakes goodies for him to bring in to the office.
Christian Aviles Director of College Access and Persistence Christian@squashhaven.org Christian joins the Squash Haven team from Los Angeles, California. Christian graduated from Amherst College in 2014 with a double major in English and Sociology. Christian comes from a diverse background in education, having worked in public and private schools, nonprofits, and test prep settings. In addition to a passion for academics and college access, Christian also brings an enthusiasm for squash as a US Squash Certified Coach. Christian oversees Squash Haven’s high school and college placement programs, and actively supports current college students with course selection, connections to summer internships, and access to campus resources.
Christi Boscarino-Elligers Director of Academics and Program Administration Christi@squashhaven.org Christi Boscarino-Elligers joined Julie and the team in the fall of 2008 as Squash Haven’s first full time Academic Director. Christi came to Squash Haven after two years of experience as a Teach for America corps member in New Haven, teaching 7th and 8th grade Language Arts. Christi is a Windsor, CT native and a graduate of Northwestern University, where she majored in French and Political Science. Christi develops and oversees Squash Haven’s academic program with an enrichment focus on literacy, discussion, and critical thinking. Christi’s passion for the work is continually fueled by the model that allows her to work comprehensively with students over long periods of time.
John DeWitt Operations Support John@Squashhaven.org John DeWitt joined the Squash Haven family in August, 2009. John brings a passion for the game and a longstanding commitment to urban squash to New Haven. John first started volunteering for the SquashBusters organization in Boston as a Belmont Hill junior and remained involved with the organization throughout his college years. John graduated from Hamilton College in May 2009 with a degree in Economics. At Hamilton, John was a four year varsity letter winner in Men's Squash, team captain in '08-'09, played at the #1 position his junior and senior years, and earned first team all-NESCAC honors for the '08-'09 season.
Julie Greenwood Executive Director Julie@squashhaven.org Julie was hired by Squash Haven’s Board of Directors in 2007 to launch and build Squash Haven. Under her leadership, the program has grown from 20 aspiring young people in 5th and 6th grades to 160 in 5th grade through college. Julie believes passionately in youth development, education, college access, and community building, and values deeply the intersection of all four in her daily life at Squash Haven. She is an alumna of New Haven's Community Leadership Program, Executive Orientation Program, and Democracy School, and a former board member of the National Urban Squash and Education Association. Julie graduated from Williams College, where she was a 3-time All-American as well as the recipient of the Purple Key Award for the outstanding female athlete in her class. She earned her Master's in Education from Stanford. Julie lives in New Haven with her husband Kieran and sons Dylan and Rory.
Rachel McLaughlin Teacher and Community Engagement Coordinator Rachel@squashhaven.org Rachel joins Squash Haven from Philadelphia, where she was an Advocate Supervisor for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Philly. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Rachel received her Bachelors in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She then moved to Philadelphia where she completed her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Rachel has extensive experience working with school aged kids both in the classroom setting and as an Educational Decision Maker for children who did not have a parent or guardian who were able to. In her spare time, Rachel loves to read and be outdoors; she has a special place in her heart for all things mythology and ancient history. Rachel brings a passion for community building and youth advocacy, and she can’t wait to incorporate that work with Squash Haven students.
Ailia Rohbar Teacher and Program Coordinator Ailia@squashhaven.org Ailia joined Squash Haven in September 2022 as our new Program Coordinator and Teacher. She has a long standing background with education and has not only taught at schools across the state, but has been an active advocate for diversity and equity in her field. She came to New Haven as an Afghan refugee back in 2002 through IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) and has since earned both her Bachelor's in English Education and Master's in Instruction and Curriculum through the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education. Before becoming part of our team, she was an ELL (English Language Learner) aide at Mansfield Middle School where she helped create a new ELL program for the school's multilingual students. Here at Squash Haven, Ailia leads our recruitment efforts, organizes various events in conjunction with our community partners, and leads our junior cohort's academic enrichment program.
Pam Saunders Director of Squash and Operations Pam@squashhaven.org Pam hails from Zimbabwe, where she captained and played on various Zimbabwe Junior National teams. She also played for Trinity College, where she won two National Championship team titles and was named All-American four times. After graduating from Trinity, Pam served as the Head Coach at Mount Holyoke College, taking the team from 24th in the nation to 11th in four seasons. While at Mount Holyoke, Pam also completed a Masters in Sports and Exercise Studies at Smith College. From 2008-2017, Pam coached at Yale University as both the Assistant Coach and Associate Head Coach for Men’s and Women’s Squash. While at Yale University, Pam started Elm City Squash, a camp and clinic business helping grow squash in the New Haven area. During that time, Pam also worked closely with Squash Haven. Furthermore, while at Yale University, she helped run the US Squash Coaching Certification Program and was a National Junior Coach at Battle of the Border. After leaving Yale University, she ran a college athletic recruiting business before coaching at LifeTime Fitness in Westchester, NY, where she worked with players from ages 6-80. Most recently, Pam was a Sales Operations Manager for a software company. Pam is excited about being back on the court and bringing her wealth of experience to the many different environments at Squash Haven.
Franki Velasquez Squash Coach Franki@squashhaven.org Franki first joined Squash Haven in 6th grade. Throughout his time in the program, Franki competed in a number of high level tournaments, and played on the varsity team as early as his freshman year of high school. Franki also led Squash Haven to five SEA Team National Titles and was the #1 player on the boys high school team as a senior. Franki is currently a student at Southern Connecticut State University, where he is learning more about the medical field. Franki is also a US Squash Level 1 Certified Coach. Franki's family has strong ties to Squash Haven, as his three younger siblings are also in the program. Outside of work, Franki enjoys going to car meets, playing soccer, and working on his car. Franki is excited about sharing his passion for squash with his younger teammates and mentoring them on and off the court.