Friday, February 19, 2010

A Dream Come True

Everyone has their own dreams, and I do too. I have different dreams for different aspects of my life, and as for chess, one of my dreams is to own a giant chess set one day. I dreamed of taking the set and placing it in the middle of the mall or in a park for kids to enjoy the game of chess with 100x more fun! It's also really big, so getting people to notice that chess actually "exists" in Canada wouldn't be a problem!

Guess what? This dream came true already! A generous person has donated a giant chess set to our program after listening to me talk about my dreams. It was a huge surprise for me too - I never expected it to come true so early in my life! I want to take this opportunity to thank this person for supporting chess in Canada, for giving me hope and most importantly, making one of my dreams come true. Once spring comes, I will try to make arrangements with some shopping malls to place the giant chess set there, and just promote chess in general! I also plan to host a 2010 Grand Chess in the Library Tournament at the North York Central Library (they have a huge room!) sometime this summer and place the giant chess set there. I'll post details regarding this tournament once everything is finalized. WOW, this is really exciting!!

I absolutely LOVE the set!!! =D

Recently, we've also received a few other donations:

from Bob Armstrong - 1 box full of chess magazines
from Wilf Ferner - 3 used analog chess clocks
from the same person who donated the giant chess set above (as well as 100 chess sets to get our program started) - some endgame books + 3 used analog chess clocks *This person contributed the most to our program so far!*

I represent my team to thank you all for caring about "what chess in Canada will look like in 25 years" as well as supporting our program. I know that many people are watching us and with each touching donation that we received, I get more and more motivated.

With every event/situation in the society, there are supporters and there must be people who go against it. Perhaps to some people (I hope not), my teammates and I are still considered "a bunch of teenagers that aren't trustworthy", and they are suspicious of us using the donated items for personal purposes. Of course, everyone has the right to doubt others, but honestly, I would feel heartbroken if someone says that to me. I can swear that I would never use the donated items for anything else other than our program or the promotion of chess in general. Everything that has been donated so far will be use in a proper way for the benefit of others. I add this paragraph to my blog post today because I actually did hear someone doubting the uses of the donated items. Honestly, I have put countless hours and efforts into this program, I don't get payed for this (neither does anyone else in my team), so why on earth would I waste so much of my time just for the sake of using the donated items myself? I had one and only one intention when I started the program and I hope that everyone will always remember it- to promote chess in Canada.

Bright Posters - A Great Promotion Tool

Since the beginning of this year, I had done promotions with my teammates for the program at three different libraries: with Jesse at Fairview; with Kevin at Pleasant View; with Kostya at Maria A. Shchuka.

Jesse and I originally created a poster that had a very general title with an information sheet that was removable and could be replaced by another anytime. That way, we would be able to do promotions at other libraries with the same poster and all that is left to do is to change the information sheet.

The story goes on as I brought the same poster to Pleasant View to promote the program with Kevin. After the promotion, the branch head suggested that we keep the poster in the library so that us, the volunteers, won't need to be at the library physically to promote the program. A week later, I visited the Pleasant View library and saw our poster right on top of the check-in/out counter! Beside it was the registration sheet for the program. Indeed, the bright orange poster was attracting a lot of attention! More people signed up for the program because of that.

Now, the purpose of visiting Pleasant View was actually to get the poster for the Maria A Shchuka promotion in the following week. Realizing how influential the poster was, I finally decided that this poster would be kept at Pleasant View and I would sacrifice a few more hours of my life making another for the Maria A Shchuka promotion! =)

The second poster that I made. I forgot to take a picture of the first one...:(

Enlarged removable information sheet. It's being taped onto the poster so it's easily removable.

I think the poster took me about 3 hours to make since I had to cut out all the letters and design them. Although I love art, a major reason to why I stopped taking art in school was that it was way too time consuming. If you know me well, you would know that I'm a "perfectionist" as I like to make everything 100% perfectly. Thus, I thought about having one of these bright posters at each library and I do encourage the leader at each one of them to make their own!! We are a team, and if we all pitch in a little bit of our time to make these posters, we would be able to see way more kids playing chess! That was the main purpose of the program, wasn't it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our First Library in Downtown Toronto!

Let's welcome the Gerrard/Ashdale Library that will be joining our organization starting from April 24th, 2010! I've always wanted to get the program started somewhere in downtown. Last year I tried the Bloor/Gladstone Library that just finished its 3-year renovations. Unfortunately, things didn't work out for us.

Although the Garrard/Ashdale branch is not even half the size of the Bloor/Gladstone branch, it now definitely has something that the Bloor/Gladstone branch doesn't have! Yes, of course, I'm talking about the Chess in the Library program that will open there in two months.

I have not yet personally visited the Gerrard/Ashdale branch but from what the librarians say, the space that we're going to use for chess is quite small. If my memory serves me right, I recall that the librarians said something about fitting up to a maximum of 16-20 players. However, that's not the main point. What's important is that chess is starting to spread to a new community!! Isn't that exciting? =P

Some info of the Gerrard/Ashdale Library:
1432 Gerrard Street East
Toronto, ON
M2N 5N9

The program will run
from 2:00pm –4:00pm on Saturdays, starting from April 24th, 2010. Please support us by coming down to play some chess!!! =)