Dennis Hanagan –
St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church and the Centre for Social Innovation, both in Regent Park, have teamed up to collect unwanted chessboards so children who attend the Daniels Spectrum in the evenings will have something to do as they wait for their music lessons.
Lawyer Robert Labossiere, who attends St. Bart’s and has an office in the CSI section at the Daniels building, said it was a fellow CSI worker that sparked the idea.
“It started out because there were a bunch of kids waiting around in the (CSI) reception area at the Daniels Spectrum building because there’s a music program there. The kids are waiting sometimes for up to an hour for their lesson,” said Labossiere.
So a CSI staff member got out a chessboard and sat the kids down to play the game to occupy their time. Labossiere is serving as liaison between the CSI and his church as he tries to collect more boards—with all their pieces.
So far a couple of boards have been donated but a few more would be helpful, said Labossiere. It’s not a big group of kids; there’re maybe four to six on a given night, around the ages of ten to twelve.
Labossiere sat in on a few sessions helping out and saw the keenness in the players’ eyes as they strategized.
“These kids are really focused. They have an intuitive sense of strategy.” Nonetheless, they’re still learning. “Every once in a while they move (a piece) in the wrong place and they need to be reminded,” Labossiere said.
Labossiere said he’s glad to help collect boards for a worthwhile endeavour. “If I can add a little fuel to the fire (with the collections) then that’s very gratifying. It would be really nice if we could create a Regent Park chess club.”
Unwanted boards and all their pieces can be donated at the reception desk on the third floor of the Daniels Spectrum or by emailing email@example.com.