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Part 2 of Interview with Orrin Hudson

Former law enforcement officer and chess wiz Orrin Hudson says that when it comes to at-risk youth, prevention is better than detention. Also he says the new currency on the planet is KASH with a K for Knowledge, A for Attitude, S for Skills, and H for Habits. KASH he says is KING because once you’ve mastered these attributes, no one can take them away.

Through his organization Be Someone, Inc, Hudson has helped over 20,000 kids develop the practical skills and techniques to overcome obstacles in life using what he calls “the best and most intellectual visual aid: the chessboard.”

Last week Bella talked to Hudson about how chess is like business and life. This week we’re continuing the conversation.

BELLA: You started your organization in 2001 after you heard about a shooting in New York …

OH: In Queens New York, seven people were shot in Wendy’s Hamburgers in Queens New York.

BELLA: How long did it take you to actually conceptualize and put together a program?

OH: It took me about five or six months to really get it going. Actually I put together a program quicker than that, but for my organization to be official it took about seven months.

BELLA: And you knew then that the focus was going to be on chess?

OH: The program is about making the right moves in life. We use chess as a vehicle, but it’s less about chess and more about building character. It’s more about letting young people know that you have to ask yourself: “is this true? Is this honest? Is this the best move I can make?” Now that’s life, that’s chess.

BELLA: Do you compete?

OH: A little bit, but not much. My life’s work is not about competing. My life’s work is about creating. I’m creating champions. I’m teaching young people that you can win or lose based on the decisions that you make. I’m teaching young people that if you’re the smartest person on your team you need a new team. You have to get around people who can show you some moves.

BELLA: And the same is true for adults?

OH: Yes, you have to get around people who can show you some moves. I don’t have all of the answers. I have over 800 books in my library. School is never out…the most important card in my wallet is not my American Express, not my MasterCard. The most important card in my wallet is my library card because my library card gives me access to the wisdom of the world. You get wisdom two ways. From mentors and mistakes.

BELLA: Aside from the mentor (James Edge, a high school teacher) who taught you chess, do you have others?

OH: I have a million mentors. Jesus is my mentor. Anytime a brother can take two fish and feed 5000, I learn from that… I have a plethora of mentors. I’m always reading. I have over 800 books. I have other teachers who have helped me. I just meet people and I learn from them. Everyone you meet is your teacher.

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