Friday, November 25, 2011

Chess helps young adults with individual needs learn life training

Posted by Admin On 11:37 AM


To most people passing by, it may seem like just an normal game of chess. Yet, to these students, it is much more than just black and white. A few months ago, students from Bridge point Academy were at the New Lenox Public Library when a small group of stop working men met for an informal chess club. The students asked to play.

The students look like other young adults. What makes this story convincing is that Bridge point is a changeover school for people ages 16-21 who have special needs. Most of them attended Hopewell School having earned enough credits to graduate high school. Now they are focusing on social skills and community-based instruction.

“It’s nice to have the young blood come in and join us,” said Jim Marchert, a retired indemnity underwriter who initiated the library’s chess club. “Whenever one of us old timers plays one of them, we try to give them a couple of pointers along the way to help them with their game.”

The game is an important part of the students’ education, Price explains. Even though they quietly concentrate during play, they pick up social cues. Marchert said they learn etiquette, such as shaking hands with an adversary after a game.

Marchert doesn’t see it as work. He encourages everyone with any level knowledge to meet Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., rotating from the library to village hall. This club has a positive disaster on these students, Price said. They will forget everything else they are asked to bring from home, but they always have their chessboards every week.

 

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