This evening I was invited by my friend Michael Denning to come down to watch the San Jose Juvenile Hall Olympics. Of course they had CHESS!! So the HHCF had to come out. It was an incredibly inspirational night. The kids were playing tug of war, they had these crazy races where 2 kids would pull another kid on a blanked across the hardwood floor!! It was so funny to watch….They had wild physical challenges- plus chess and checkers tournaments!!
The staff at the SJ Juvenile Hall went all out to give these youth a night of gaming and fun. Elizabeth Alameda (one of the organizers of the event) greeted me and we talked for a while about how many kids in the facility play chess. Some of the teachers use Josh Waitzkins Art of Learning when teaching some of the youth there. I called Josh as soon as I left and the JW Foundation is going to donate books to all the kids there who want a copy for themselves!
Sometimes, when you’re working to pave new roads to education for young minds, it can be a lonely road. But its SO powerful to see these teen boys and girls bring their best on the boards. Most of them learned from a relative. Usually a grandparent, a parent or an older sibling. One dominating player named Mark was taught by his grandfather. He had a really good coordinated attacks with his queen and bishops. Another girl told me her grandma taught her. She had a solid knowledge of Ruy Lopez and followed up with decisive attacks on her male opponent.
I had to leave early unfortunately, on my way to meet rapper Okwerdz and Teak from Hallway Productionz at KPFA radio for the Friday Night Vibe…But let it be known the HHCF are in talks with Elizabeth to see if we can get a regular HHCF program at the facility and we hope to bring some surprise guests through soon. Much respect to all the teens and organizers of the event. It was a day I’ll never forget. I hope to be back soon!! I have some photos below….Enjoy.
Adisa Banjoko @ San Jose Juvenile Hall 2008 Olympics !!
They had so many cool posters
SJ Juvenile Hall Garden….Where youth grow inside and out…
Ladies representing on in chess at the SJ Juvenile Hall Olympics!
A young soldier on the chess boards at the SJ Juvenile Hall Olympics
The girls had a watermelon mascot!! So cute, but I forgot to photograph her costume!!