On Wednesday afternoons, the staff of Juvenile Services mentors a group of young people in Secure Detention as they challenge each other in games
of chess. Recently, Wavy TV-10 News Reporter and avid chess player, Don Roberts, visited Newport News Juvenile Services to play chess with a group of young people mentored by the department. A committed supporter of Juvenile Services and a frequent visitor to the Chess Club, Roberts was accompanied by The Honorable Congressman Bobby Scott, former Newport News Vice Mayor and Councilman Robert Coleman, and several community child advocates. The dignitaries visited to positively coach and mentor the kids while engaging them in several rounds of chess.
Announcing the day’s theme to be Protect the King, Mr. Roberts opened the Chess Challenge with three statements - “Think critically! Focus on your decisions! Always protect your King!” He went on to say “Chess is a game of strategy. It is much more than the knowledge of how the pieces move and attack. So, think before you act and make sure your decision is final.”
As the games began, some matches were set at a rigorous
pace and others more methodical and lengthy. But it became apparent that as “mistakes” were made by the kids, the esteemed guests quickly interjected to remind them of the ground rules set at the beginning of the session. And, as successful moves, traps or attacks took place, the kids were equally praised for their accomplishment.
The number of wins and losses began to tally, it was clear the amount of appreciation the kids had for the opportunity to be challenged by, to speak with, and to build rapport with “adults” who they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to experience under different circumstances. On that day, the Chess Club kids sat across the table from a market advisor, a ranking deputy sheriff and former Vice Mayor, a tradesman, businessmen, an author and local television personality, and a United States Congressman. Though it may have been for only a couple of hours, that time may well have planted the seeds of hope understanding, maturity, forethought and consequence, that could lead one or more of these young people to realize that their potential for being a successful and productive member in the community is so much greater than the path they are currently walking down.