Having both older and younger boys in chess club gives the older boys the chance to practice their leadership skills. They work to set a good example for the younger boys and to support them by answering their questions and giving advice. Kelleher now sees them behaving the same way outside of chess club, around the halls of Mercy Home.
“Chess club promotes community, teaches kids to interact positively with one another, and teaches good sportsmanship: how to play fairly, and to win and lose with grace,” Kelleher says.
One of the older boys, Bryan, has stood out to her. When he joined the club, he didn’t know how to play the game. But Bryan was really motivated. He learned the rules and spent time studying how the other boys made their decisions. His efforts have certainly paid off. “Now he’s one of our best players!” she says. The boys of chess club have formed a bond with one another. Chess is a difficult game. Each Wednesday afternoon, because of the special opportunities you make possible, they have the chance to rise to the challenge. And they do—in more ways than one. They practice good decision making, they mentor one another, and most of all, they have fun.