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Chess raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s

Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen and Poornima Narayanan Email Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen and Poornima Narayanan
January 2018
Chess raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s

It was while volunteering at an Alpharetta memory care center that high schooler Anuhya Tadepalli had her ‘Eureka!’ moment—using the brain stimulating properties of chess as a first line therapy to help aging citizens cope with deteriorating mental faculties. Anuhya, who studies at Milton High School, and her childhood friend Poojita Chinmay, a junior at School of Mathematics from Gwinnett County researched how chess can be used to boost functioning of the aging brain and slow down or reverse the onset of dementia. That led to the founding of a nonprofit, Chess For A Cause, in 2016. Every week, young chess playing volunteers introduce the benefits of chess and give lessons on playing the game to elderly citizens living in senior care, memory care, and assisted living facilities in the metro Atlanta area. Currently, this innovative and heartwarming initiative works with 14 senior citizen facilities. Furthermore, the weekly interactions between seniors and children build empathy and bridge the age gap.

In June 2017, Chess For A Cause was selected by Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services as one among five winners of a competition held to encourage statewide innovation in ways to support elderly people with disabilities. Chess For A Cause emerged as the top fundraiser for Longest Day, an event held in July 2017 at Roswell Senior Center to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s. This youthful initiative has received the Governor's commendation. Deeply appreciating the spirit behind this enterprise, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood has said that the volunteer effort has spinoffs other than improving mental health for seniors, in terms of social bonds and psychological benefits.

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