Eight years ago Orrin Hudson was watching the news on TV and heard that seven restaurant employees were shot in the head, execution style, for $2000. He said to himself, “That’s it, I have to do my part.” Hudson, who had previously been an Alabama State Trooper and subsequently owned a car dealership, used his savings and even maxed out his credit cards to start a program to help inner-city kids. His unlikely tool for helping these kids? Chess.
Hudson had himself been a problem child. He was in and out of trouble, associating with the wrong people. A teacher took an interest and taught Hudson chess, using the game as the means to introduce him to critical thinking. Now Hudson is imparting these same lessons to thousands of at risk kids through his non-profit organization, BeSomeone.org. Through chess, he teaches them that every decision has consequences, providing the kids with decision-making and problem solving skills so necessary in day-to-day living. Check out the video:
There are many great programs out there to help kids, but I see a common denominator in all the successful programs. The key to reaching kids is finding something that truly interests them. Whether the tool is chess, hockey, gymnastics, or an academic endeavor, when kids becomes truly invested in an activity, their self-confidence and self-esteem soar. Thankfully, there are people like Orrin Hudson, who are giving back what they were so freely given, in order to help kids reach their full potential.