It’s called “Caught Up, The Intervention Game.” The game is played exactly like chess, except that it also teaches the players about the dangers of gang violence.
“What we want to do is effectively help lessen the violence in our community by teaching our kids to stay away from gangs through a game like chess,” said Isaiah Crompton, the creator of the game.
Crompton hopes the game will help kids think before they move and to make better choices.
“We teach our students that they are in control of their side of the board, they’re in control of their choices, and they need to take the time to make the right move,” said Crompton.
Every time a piece is knocked off the board, the player reads a flip-card. The card could have a question or real-life story about gang violence for the players to talk about.
Crompton has worked with adults in the past, and has transitioned to children to focus on prevention.
“I think it’s easier to help a child in the right direction then to fix a broken man. If we could start while they are young and give them some tools, hopefully they will stick and they won’t go down the wrong path,” said Crompton.
The recent statistics from the Bakersfield Police Department show that gang violence is improving. Bakersfield had 15 gang-related homicides in 2012, 12 in 2013, and five in 2014.
Crompton said they are at the housing authority every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. playing the game. Everyone is welcome to come. Trainers are there to help teach, and there are plenty of food and drinks.
They also go to Emerson Middle School every Friday, and are planning to expand to Sequoia Middle School, Sierra Middle School, and Evergreen Elementary School in February for after school programs.
The game also has an app that is available.
Crompton said that he is in the process of creating two more games. One of the games will be geared toward elementary school students and the other for families.