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 Chess For Life for At-Risk Youth


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After a local judge sentenced a youth to practice basketball, Dr. Lance Grigg, associate professor in Education, brought up the idea of learning to play chess as a possible alternative sentence for youth involved in the criminal justice system.

The Chess For Life Program is a research project that aims to explore how learning to play chess affects youths' thinking and the choices they make every day. Local youth involved in the criminal justice system are being referred to the program, where they learn to play chess as part of their sentence.

"We have conversations about chess and we don't have to go very far before they start to draw parallels between what we're talking about and their own lives", says Josh Markle, an instructor in the Faculty of Education.

"As kids become better chess players, they aren't just learning how to play a game; they're learning to play the game of life", says Dr. Jeffrey MacCormack, assistant professor in education.

Dr. Monique Sedgwick, associate professor in nursing, and Riley Kostek, a teacher at Victoria Park High School, round out the research team.

Since mid-January they have provided chess instruction on Friday afternoons to five youth, ranging in age from 12 to 18, who have been referred to the program by the Crown, the judge and the probation officer. The instructors help the youth to think ahead and plan their moves.

The Chess For LIfe program is not yet funded, but with your support we hope to secure funding to continue offering the program and even expand it provincially.

Your donation makes a real difference!  Thank you for your support!

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