After Officer Chuck Cassidy was murdered last fall at a West Oak Lane Dunkin’ Donuts, Breanne Ward knew she had to do something to help prevent the violence that took her friend’s life.
Ward, 25, along with a group of friends informally known as “The Friends of Uncle Chuck,” began taking donations, and today the fruits of the group’s labor will come to life at the After School Activities Partnerships’ final Chess Challenge. The tournament, held at the Community College of Philadelphia, is the last of a monthly series of open chess tournaments held by ASAP. There, the Friends of Uncle Chuck will present a $500 donation.
“There might have been some strange reactions,” Ward said of her choice to donate to a chess program; “I just talked about what the group did, and when it ended up being chess, [the Friends of Uncle Chuck] said they were in.”
According to ASAP, chess is an ideal after-school program that teaches self-discipline and analytical thinking, and most importantly, gives students much-needed after-school supervision.
The donation, which is being matched by the Diageo liquor company, is earmarked to begin five chess clubs in Cassidy’s 35th Police District. ASAP estimates these clubs will provide after-school activity for up to 100 students.
“They wanted it to be an active project,” said Marciene Mattleman, president of ASAP. “They weren’t just giving a donation to [just another] organization.”
Ward, who grew up with Cassidy’s in-laws, has no doubt that the donation will be put to good use. “Just seeing all of the evidence, and how willing they were to work with me, I got a good sense.”
Ward and other Friends of Uncle Chuck will attend the tournament, presenting an award to ASAP’s most improved player, Carl Green of F.A. Bregy Elementary School in South Philadelphia.
ASAP will also receive a $25,000 Department of Education grant from state Sen. Vince Fumo. *
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