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Featured Mini-Grantee | It’s Your Move Chess, Inc.

2024-06-09T15:27:32-04:00June 9th, 2024|

Empowering Minds, One Chess Move at a Time

It’s Your Move, Inc. offers a variety of options for those interested in chess in the Jersey City community.  It provides classes, teaching resources, an online environment and tournaments to help players at all competency levels.

The mission of It’s Your Move is to utilize the game of chess as a powerful tool to foster growth, learning, mentorship and community engagement.  They have developed a series of programs that focus on the specific needs of young people, seniors, teams, and those facing mental health, career, and reintegration challenges following homelessness, substance abuse or incarceration.  

HealthierJC + It’s Your Move

It’s Your Move is focused on building a Culture of Health – explicitly around mental health – in Jersey City.  Over 23 years, the organization has witnessed how chess participation has improved communication, problem-solving, and cognitive skills, built confidence and enhanced overall quality of life.

Based on experience, It’s Your Move has segmented key strategies for mental wellness into four focus areas: (1) Activity and creativity, (2 ) Growth and nourishment, (3) Rest and rejuvenation, and (4) Connection and meaning

As a member of the partnership, HealthierJC has advised It’s Your Move on refining their messaging to appeal more universally to Jersey City residents.  From youth to seniors to the incarcerated, It’s Your Move has proven that chess can empower individuals to better handle stress, improve resilience and deal with adversity.  

How was the Mini-Grant Used? 

In 2023, the HealthierJC mini-grant helped It’s Your Move fund staff, equipment, promotion, and travel for several chess programs and events.  These included:

  • Hudson County/ It’s Your Move Chess Championship held at the William J. Brennan Courthouse
  • Family Chess at PS# 6 in Jersey City
  • Chess Fun at the Maureen Collier and Joseph Connors Senior Centers
  • Tour of New York City’s World Trade Center by Jersey City students as part of a High School Development Program, sponsored in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Some 250 participants registered for these It’s Your Move activities, which benefitted Jersey City minorities, at risk youth, seniors, low-income Individuals, the disabled and those struggling with mental health issues in Wards E and F.  Furthermore, It’s Your Move created positive and intellectual environments throughout the city for residents to engage, learn, and grow – which positively contributed to the overall health of the Jersey City community

Making a Difference…

“It’s Your Move helps give community members a sense of well-being,
not just by learning chess but also by strengthening life skills.”

—Maryanne Kelleher, Director, Partnership for a HealthierJC

Chess has far-reaching benefits,” said Robert (Bobby) Stewart, Founder, It’s Your Move, Inc. “Academically, it’s a plus for students and a confidence builder. Winning just one game gives them a power that can’t be taken away. We want to move the needle by impacting a child’s life through chess.”

Young people and seniors often feel isolated, and playing chess is a way to meet people and stay engaged. “It also exercises the mind for those with dementia,” Stewart said.

For Kelleher, ‘partnership’ and ‘healthier’ are the operative words. It’s Your Move is putting our money where their mouth is,” she said.  “It’s formed bonds with other like-minded groups whose shared mission is to foster a healthier Jersey City.”

For more information, visit It’s Your Move, Incorporated