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      Checkmate! Moody Manor kids learn creative thinking through chess

      What would you do if you were mayor? Students enrolled in a creative thinking program had the chance on Monday to tell Toledo Mayor Mike Bell themselves.

      Mayor Bell joined other community leaders at Inez Nash Park to meet students enrolled in the Woodberry Park Kids program.

      Students from 5th to 8th grade from the Moody Manor apartment complex participate in weekly sessions at Jones Elementary School and the Mareda Center, learning creative thinking through designing cartoons and playing chess. Directors Warren Woodberry and his wife, Yolanda, say the program helps teach proper social skills and creativity in a safe, nurturing environment.

      â??The kids are helping us understand what they need, and weâ??re trying to show them what we have to offer,â?? said Warren Woodberry.

      Woodberry Park Kids student Teana Hurtz told WNWO she enjoys the program because she can, â??Make my own cartoons and pictures.â?? She is currently working on a cartoon story called â??Lucilleâ??s Paradise,â?? starring Lucille Ball, who sets out on a plan to create a basketball stadium.

      Mayor Bell looked on as kids put their critical thinking skills on display, announcing what they would do if they were mayor of Toledo. Responses included making chess a priority in school, helping people in need, and reducing violence.

      Mondayâ??s gathering also helped to foster collaboration between other community organizations designed to empower and educate children. Future of Toledo, Afterschool Alliance of Northwest Ohio, and Partners in Education joined Toledo Public Schoolâ??s Superintendent Romulus Durant to show kids the opportunities available to them.

      â??Youâ??ll be the next grassroots to provide something here in Toledo that you need an opportunity for,â?? Durant told students. â??Itâ??s going to come from that chess game, because that chess game of life is going to give you an opportunity to figure out where you want to be.â??

      What would you do if you were mayor? Let us know on our Facebook fanpage .