David Benjamin, Chess for Success, Norfolk, VA

David_BenjaminWhen I started the project I knew that it would be beneficial to the kids. In addition, I enjoy playing chess, so I knew that it would be fun for me as well. However, I did not realize how amazing I would feel after seeing the kids learning, laughing, and connecting with me and the other officers. I now know that we are not only helping these kids with their academics, but that we are building positive relationships with them.

The main goal of the project was to increase the children’s math and reading scores. A secondary goal was to build positive relationships with the children and thereby with the community in general. The preliminary test results indicate that there has already been an increase in the reading scores for most of the children in the Chess for Success program.

I anticipate that we will see additional increases in those and the math scores as time goes by. In terms of relationship building, I definitely think that we are successful – the children are genuinely happy to see us when we arrive and I can tell from our interactions that we have formed lasting friendships.