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The interview audio was posted with permission from Mr. Orrin Hudson.

Summary

I grecheckmake-hudsonw up in a tough housing project in Birmingham, AL, in the 1980s, never far from gangs, drugs, and criminal activity. Fortunately for me, I met an exceptional teacher who put me on the right path.

After 6 years as an Alabama State Trooper, I thought I’d seen some of the worst possible examples of human behavior. Then one night in May, 2004, the TV showed how 2 teenagers murdered 5 teenaged employees of a Wendy’s in far-away Queens, NY. Kids killing kids for money – cold blooded, execution style, no value for life – all for a lousy $2400.

Evil prevails when good people do nothing. The TV images were so awful I couldn’t sleep that night. I thought back to my own youth – growing up in a family of 13 kids – and how close I came to landing in jail for stealing inner tubes off truck tires. But an English teacher got me interested in the game of chess. He turned me around.

Watching the aftermath of a mass murder in Queens was my personal wake-up call. I decided to follow the example of my own teacher and use chess to turn around troubled kids. Nine months later I sold my business – auto sales and repairs – and launched BeSomeone.org. As of 2012, we’ve helped build the character of about 25,000 young people – our goal is one million – to inspire them through the game of chess.

We show young people how to surround themselves with smart people and achieve worthy goals. I’m sorry to say it took a tragic episode to launch this program, but there’s nothing better than hearing a parent say, “Thanks for not giving up on my child. He’s making the right moves.”

Even if I had $1 million in my pocket, I’d be a failure if I stood by while kids were killing other kids. The success stories of my chess kids really inspire me, and I hope they inspire you as well. Let’s not give up on them. Please visit www.besomeone.org for more info about the program and see if you can help.