When someone mentions chess, a few things come to mind. Smart people playing a complex game, for one. But the game itself has more meaning. Chess is a teacher. It challenges the players to think about their actions and consequences. The game shows that one move, and the response to it, can change the whole outcome. The Parkridge Community Center in Ypsilanti has adapted that idea to teach life lessons to the children in their community.
Teaching chess to a few kids, and setting aside times to focus on the game, the Center established a chess club that has morphed into a popular activity for youth and adults alike.
Chess requires learning skills— recollection, forethought, and flexibility— to become successful. By learning these tools for use in a game, people are able to put them into use in their everyday lives as well. These life skills create more well-rounded individuals in the community who are able to make a positive impact where they live.
Rather than roaming the streets, or being left to keep themselves busy, children and teens come to the Community Center to practice and develop these abilities, transferring those skill to real life situations, while having fun in the process. The club has also drawn in many adults from the area to volunteer at gatherings, and to learn more about the game, and their community, at the same time.
The Parkridge Community Center chess club has grown and now meets four days a week to accommodate increasing demand.
For more information on how to get involved,