Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Check Mates - Kids Learning Through Chess

A group of kids at Immokalee’s Farm Worker’s Village love to play, but their game of choice can’t be found on a Wii, PS2 or even a PS3.

About 20 kids meet regularly with some Immokalee deputies to play chess. Deputies say the game helps strengthen the children’s intellect and strategy-making skills while teaching them life lessons about sportsmanship. Cpl. Michael Taylor, who initiated the program, said he saw chess as an opportunity for kids to bond with deputies and engage in an activity the would make them think.

The group meets from 3 to 5 p.m. every other Wednesday at the FWV community center. Most of the kids are 10 years or older but any child with a desire to play is welcome.

Deputies are planning to start another session aimed at beginners. That group will meet every other Thursday starting sometime in June. Once a child understands the rules in the beginner sessions, they will be invited to join the Wednesday group.

The deputies also host occasional movie nights for children too young to play chess to get them involved with law enforcement in a positive setting.

And whether the kids are playing chess or watching a movie, deputies take the time to talk to them about what is going on in their lives and provide safety tips.

For more information on the program, contact Lt. Mike Dolan at the Immokalee substation at 239-530-9959.

Cpl. Ana Russell discusses strategy and the rules with some of the kids participating in a chess gaming event at the Farm Worker’s Village community center.