What makes a good chess player makes a strong person: tenacious learning, critical-thinking, understanding consequences, turning losses into lessons. Make a Chess Move (MACM) infuses the game’s philosophy into their youth development programs in order to elevate the community and defy negative forces, including the school-to-prison pipeline.
A student that learns compassion, ethical decision-making, and goal setting has a great chance for success. “Everyone at MACM has a common understanding that chess relates to life,” Oujaa Brown, MACM’s administrative assistant says. “Our participants begin to think about the potential consequences of their actions, thus resulting in them making better choices.” MACM provides opportunities for this process through elective classes in schools, quarterly chess workshops (currently online), and summer programming.
“Some students are able to come out of their shells and display a sense of confidence,” Brown says. “Others may have been directed by one of the facilitators and have been able to change some of their negative practices. Everyone who enters MACM’s doors is considered a “niecephew” (niece and nephew combined) and we create a strong bond with each member.”
Coming up: The Make a Compassion Move summer internship pays youth ages 13 to 17 to help manage MACM’s social media and digital presence, and engage with chessboard/life strategy and social-emotional curriculum. The program is meant for youth that are struggling with school attendance, academic achievement, and involvement in the system. Make A Career Move, also for ages 13 to 17, helps youth to explore career opportunities through workshops that cover financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and wealth building. Participants from both internships also plan and host Safe Zones during the summer. The free events allow the community to enjoy food and activities in a safe space.