Who We Are

Our Staff


Executive Director

Renato Paiva has served as the Executive Director of Access Youth Academy since it began. During the past 17 years, he has ably led Access to produce outstanding results and has helped Access to be regarded as one of the leading urban squash and youth development programs in the nation. During that time, Access students have achieved 100% college graduation rates, secured over $10 million dollars in scholarships, and 13 national squash titles. Renato led the design and construction of state-of-the-art education and squash facility located in a federally designated Promise zone in Southeastern San Diego that opened in June 2021.

A native of Brazil, Renato became an internationally ranked squash player and competed in several countries. Prior to Access, Renato coached in several colleges, including serving as Assistant Squash Coach at Harvard University and a Head Coach at USC. In 2010, Paiva was named Development Coach of the Year by U.S. Squash and was honored as 2011 Coach of the Year by the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports in Washington, DC.


Program Director

Siarah was born and raised in Southeast San Diego. After completing high school at a local K-12 charter school, she went on to earn a degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Following the completion of her undergraduate career, she began working in K-12 education, providing college admissions and application support to high school students. Later, she was afforded the opportunity to also work in the classroom with students, providing 1-on-1 and group academic support.

It has been Siarah's goal to help foster environments that promote belongingness and access amongst students from underrepresented and underserved communities. After having experienced it herself as a high schooler, Siarah is now committed to creating opportunities for students to thrive academically and in life as a whole.


Academic Coordinator

Nate Cambridge was born and raised in upstate New York and relocated to San Diego in 2020. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Education from The City College of New York. Early in his career, Nate worked as a Senior Resident Counselor, providing life skills and mental health support for adolescents living in a group home. Nate then spent several years working as a first-grade teacher in Title I schools in New York City. Prior to joining Access, Nate worked as an Academic Specialist at Harlem Children’s Zone, working with high school students on academic goals and college access.

Nate has devoted his career to helping students gain access to equitable educational opportunities. He is passionate about sports and believes in the power of integrating athletics with academics. Nate is thrilled to be a resident of the San Diego community and part of the Access Youth Academy team.


Squash & Fitness Director

Raheem moved from Harlem, NY to join the Access team. His goal is to create brave and authentic spaces for underrepresented groups and hopes to use his experience as a Squash & Education Alliance alumnus to motivate and inspire the stars of the future.

Harlem native, and Street Squash alum Raheem Logan is the author of the children’s book Black Boy Fly, and origin story about the love and challenges of squash. The children’s book is the first title to enter the squash literary cannon from a hip-hop millennial.

Raheem is a graduate of the Canterbury Boarding School in New Milford, Connecticut, and Wesleyan University, where he played at #9 for the Cardinals as a freshman and #1 his senior year. He has coached at City Squash and Canterbury. Outside of squash, travel is his greatest joy would be exploration and self-discovery. I’m inspired and motivated by the growth that comes from people choosing courage in different aspects of their lives to see more of the world around them! The roller coaster of squash is both one of exploration and self-discovery as well. 


Director of Development

Cindy Sweeney joined Access Youth Academy in 2019. She brings to the team 20+ years of experience in both for-profit and nonprofit business development, management and consulting. Prior to joining Access, she was founder and managing partner of an international sourcing and manufacturing business. In this capacity she was responsible for overseeing the design, production and sale of everything from clothing and jewelry to custom-made furniture.

As a mother of two young sons, while living in rural upstate New York, she co-founded and worked as lead development officer for a nonprofit program that successfully brought gardens to each of the regional schools, more nutritious food to school lunch tables and science-based healthy-living curriculum to the classroom. She is inspired by the Access students and is excited to bring to bear her gathered experience in support of their success.


Operations Director

Jay Eickemeyer joined Access Youth Academy in January 2023. He brings to the table a talent for process establishment, optimization, and organizational skills which will be a great asset to the Access team.Jay joins us from Naval Base San Diego working in the human resource and military pay operations. Prior to that position he was in operations at a multi-site organization providing end-of-life and aftercare services. An enthusiast for San Diego’s culture and outdoor activities he is excited to be a part of the city’s landscape and is inspired to be in a role that supports the success of the Access Youth Academy students.


Club Manager

Gustavo Macedo, a former professional soccer player from São Paulo, Brazil, is now Club Manager of the Access Squash Club in San Diego. He graduated from the University Santa Cecilia in Brazil and holds an MBA in Sport Management from FIFA. With over 6 years of experience in the sports sector, Gustavo has managed prestigious organizations such as Santos FC and San Diego Loyal. As a soccer player, he had a successful career in Brazil, playing for various clubs. After retiring from playing, Gustavo decided to focus on management and rapidly rose through the ranks due to his deep knowledge of the game and his leadership abilities. His first major managerial role was with Santos FC, one of the most renowned soccer clubs in Brazil. During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing young talent and implementing new strategies that led to improved performances on and off the field. Gustavo is thrilled to be part of the Access Youth Academy and looks forward to giving back to the San Diego community.


Assistant Squash Coach

Yaser is the newest addition to our squash program, joining Access Youth Academy in February 2024. He’s an Egyptian-American. Born in New Jersey and raised in Alexandria, Egypt where he grew up playing squash as a junior in one of Egypt’s most prestigious clubs - Alexandria Sporting Club. Training in the signature attacking and creative style of Egyptian squash, and working under many of the same coaches in ASC that have produced world class athletes the likes of Nour El Sherbini, Raneem El Weleily, and Fares Dessouky among many others.

After taking some time to explore curiosities in avenues of business development and finance, he’s now back to his roots in Squash and has joined us on our mission! He brings with him over ten years of Squash experience, a deep love and passion for the sport, and a keen focus on fitness, proper nutrition, and mental fortitude as crucial elements in any athlete’s pursuit of excellence.

“I am elated to be joining Access Youth Academy on its noble journey. Pouring one’s knowledge and experience into an ambitious student and watching them take those tools and put them into practice through discipline. Effectively inducing remarkable growth and betterment as a result, especially in the face of adversity, is a feeling of pride and satisfaction unlike any other. I’m honored to be involved as we work together to nurture Southern California’s next generation of squash champions!”

Thankful for our Local and National Donors

Access News: Success Stories, Impact, DEI, & Development

San Diego academy using squash to help kids reach college


JULY 29, 2021

It begins with an after-school program of academics and squash from 7th through the 12th grade. Students visit colleges, prep for the SAT and ACT, get help with college applications, and of course, play in squash tournaments ...

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Blair Sadler is ‘flunking’ retirement as he helps students through squash


JULY 9, 2021

La Jollan Blair Sadler, a former president of Rady Children’s Hospital, is using retirement to continue his crusade to squash social inequities via Access Youth Academy ...

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Academics and squash give charter students a new choice for college


FEBRUARY 2, 2022

“Why is it called squash? Because the ball is squashy,” said Deon Saffery, the Academy’s squash manager. She was recruited from the United Kingdom to come to San Diego and teach children as young as 10 how to play the centuries-old game ...

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A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to transform the lives of underserved youth. Access was founded in 2006 by Greg Scherman and Chris Walker, who believed the San Diego community could benefit from an urban squash program that provided opportunity and support unlike any other non-profit in the region.

Federal Tax-ID (EIN) 20-5119659

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