Local management boards make a difference

March 16, 2010

I agree with Frank Farrow ("A step backward for Md.'s most vulnerable," March 11) that state budget cuts that basically eliminate local management boards are short-sighted.

In 2003 the LMB-funded after school program in Kent County gave two teachers a $500 grant to start a chess program. Now we have chess clubs across the county staffed by volunteer chess instructors. Just two weeks ago we held our first Maryland Chess Association tournament, and kids came from all over the state to compete.

But the thing I am most proud of is that the chess program has brought out the best in young girls who didn't think they could play and disadvantaged kids who had never heard of chess. Every week we see kids of all ages, races and genders learning, coming back, challenging themselves and becoming more confident in their new skills. I remember one young boy with learning disabilities who didn't know anything about chess who went on to win several of our local tournaments. When I first met him he thought he was "dumb." He doesn't think that anymore.

We have hundreds of stories like this that were all made possible because local people came together, looked at what we needed and were able to get the support locally to make it happen. While I realize this is a small example of what LMBs do, it is powerful nonetheless because we changed kids lives. It wouldn't have happened without our LMB.

Lain Hawkridge, Chestertown

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