Santa Clarita chess coaches are expected next month to make
By Jim Holt Signal Staff Writer
Thursday September 20, 2007

Santa Clarita chess coaches are expected next month to make regular hospital visits to teach sick kids how to play chess, thanks to a fund set up in honor of 12-year-old Sean Reader who died of cancer last year.

“Somebody who has been learning chess would really look forward to playing chess at the next level,” said Barbara Vickman, a 20-year veteran volunteer at the volunteer office of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

This week, one of the coaches working with Coach Jay Stallings, director of the California Youth Chess League, is expected to complete a hospital volunteer training program that would enable him to visit the hospital regularly to teach chess.

Tuesday would have been Sean Reader’s 14th birthday.

Friends and family met Tuesday in his honor and also met for a party Sunday.

“We were kind of thinking of a way to keep Sean’s memory alive,” his father Chan said Wednesday. “And, he would have best liked it if kids who couldn’t afford lessons could play after school.

“And, we were also thinking that, through Jay’s organization, the Chess Youth League of California, we could have a coach give lessons by going out to the hospital and providing a chess package to kids.”

Michael Sierze, a CYLC chess coach in Valencia, is expected to finish his volunteer training this week and start visiting the hospital in the next couple of weeks.

“(Sean) really looked up to Coach Michael as an older brother,” said Sean’s mother, Maria, Wednesday.

“It’s been a rough year,” she said. “But, it brings a lot of joy to my heart to see how much support his friends have shown. It’s been rough but I can see a lot of positive things going on and putting together this program with Coach Michael as one of them.”

Sean Reader was the leader of the Meadows Elementary Chess Team. In February 2006, he won the Western States Chess Championship for the sixth grade.

He died of leukemia on Aug. 14, 2006

Here is the full story.

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