Tuesday, November 12, 2013

World News: Jamaican students learn life lessons through dominoes

This is a pretty neat find for our readers, especially those who love playing dominoes. Students from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Jamaica's capital are learning domino strategies through a government program. Teens and 20-somethings hope it will keep them from becoming crime statistics or give in to despair at a time when youth unemployment is at 38 percent, and better opportunities are scarce, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Through this program, youths learn to view life through the simple yet deceptive game, like a game of chess. Under the guidance of a Justice Ministry officer who devised the "Dominoes for Life" program, participants say the game is helping them work through possible outcomes and develop thinking skills as they learn how to navigate the real world, the AP reported.

Here's some background: The game of dominoes is deeply woven in the cultural fabric of the Caribbean, and it's almost an obsession for many players. The style of play is loud and dominated by men and the government recognizes competitive dominoes as a sport. The National Association of Domino Bodies, which regulates the game on the island of 2.7 million people, is also teaching it in schools to improve youths' self esteem, awaken social awareness, improve morals and boost community pride.

One student in the article, Shavoine Lewis, 16, said: "Dominoes is giving me the focus to do better in all my subjects."

Marcia Flynn, the architect of the program, said the game gives resonant messages to at-risk youths. "Some of you used to be on the corners doing nothing, right?" she asked a classroom of vocational students. "The opportunity came to study and you made a move forward, just like with the domino game. You are moving ahead with your life and you have to keep your eyes looking forward to see how it will play out. You have to play smart to the end."

That's good advice (read the complete article here). Do you feel the same way, dominoes players?

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