Friday, August 26, 2011

CITL in Barrie Update

We recently received an email from the CITL program organizer in Barrie, Michael Zaghi telling us about how everything went. Below are some quotes from Michael himself:
"It looks like the CITL in Barrie was very successful and I really enjoyed my time working with kids and showing them some chess. The program in Barrie officially ended yesterday (Aug 21st) which was the timeline me and the manager decided upon before the program started. Over the past 6 weeks our numbers have ranged from 9-15 which isn't bad at all in my opinion."
For a small town like Barrie that has only ONE public library, the Barrie Public Library, the turn out for CITL is quite respectable! Unfortunately, Michael didn't take any pictures as he was afraid things might get complicated with parental permission, etc. It's so true though, because in Toronto, the libraries are very very strict with picture taking - each kid that we take a picture of has to fill out a media release form! When I went to chess tournaments anywhere on this planet, people take pictures of everyone but nobody had to sign anything haha. But it's alright, I'm already used to this by now. :)

Anyways, I'm just so pleased to hear the great news about Barrie! However, Michael will no longer be able to volunteer at the program anymore and certainly, we all want to see this program continue throughout the year. Michael hopes so too.
"I am going to try and see if I can get some volunteers to continue the program so I would consider it on hold for the time being since I would like to see it continue."
Michael spent a lot of effort convincing the librarians in Barrie to get this going so securing this location was 5 times harder than those in Toronto. I want to take this opportunity here to thank him for literally everything, EVERYHING he did to make CITL in Barrie possible!

So if you're living in Barrie and would like to contribute to the Canadian chess community by promoting chess, then this is your chance! Honestly, we would all be very grateful is someone steps up and takes on Michael's position after he leaves. Even if you're only available to do this for a month, it will mean a lot to us, the participants of the program and the chess community as a whole. Even if you spread the word about this program to your family, friends, coworkers, etc who might be interested in helping out, we will be more than appreciative, really. To those of you who read this post and took action, I sincerely thank you all! It's really all of you guys who made CITL so successful today, bit by bit, little by little, detail by detail. Email if you're interested in helping out! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Sneak Peak at a CITL Exec Meeting

Two days ago, the new CITL Executive Board had its 2nd internal meeting, which lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes. You might consider that a super long meeting, but you know what? This meeting was actually more efficient than our previous one, which ended after 4 hours! Well, everyone had a lot to say at the first meeting anyway...

So we all met up at the North York Central Library and walked to the nearest Tim Hortons, where we all made ourselves comfortable in the non air conditioned room with some ice cappuccino. Yum! Now down to business.

From left to right:Linda, Vivek, Gal, Aaron and me. What a coincidence - Linda and Aaron were wearing the same shirt haha~

We delineated our goals for the upcoming quarter and set deadlines for them. One of the three main projects that we are working is a completely new and updated website that will be more organized and visually appealing. Our Director of Communications Vivek as well as our Art Director Linda will be the main coordinators of this big project.

The website team hard at work...

The two other projects are more on a small scale as they will be completed in the next several weeks, especially before school begins. Gal and I will be creating a step-by-step CITL set-up manual for libraries who are potentially interested in joining the network. We will also build up our image by drafting a document explaining briefing the benefits of chess to children and seniors alike. This document will allow potential donors, sponsors and libraries interested in getting involved in CITL understand the true value of CITL's programs.

Finally, Linda will be designing 4 large CITL posters that we would be able to display at promotional sessions, workshops, or any CITL event. Can't wait to see how it looks! :)

So that's it for now. After the meeting everyone had written a long list of things to do along with their deadlines. I better start checking off those boxes on my to-do list! ^_^

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Location Out West - Runnymede

Our 17th location in Toronto has just been confirmed 2 days ago after a short meeting with the librarians of Runnymede branch. The possibility of introducing CITL to this library, located in Etobicoke, was first brought up by a chess player in April this year. I was the special guest at the Ontario Girls Chess Championships this year and after the awards ceremony, a grade 9 girl who had won second place in her division approached me and said:"Hey Yuanling, do you think you'll be able to start Chess in the Library at Runnymede? I'd really like to volunteer!".

It's not so often that I get these requests from potential volunteers, you know. Surprised at the sudden request, I wrote down her email and told her that I will look into it. So who is this girl? She is Jennifer Ugodnikov, a young girl full of passion and enthusiasm for not only chess but also the community - a complete reflection of myself when I founded CITL back in 2009.

Several months later, in mid-July, I received an email from a librarian at Runnymede expressing their willingness of giving the program a shot! And that's how we got our 17th location in Toronto and 23rd CITL location nationwide. It's great to see more CITL programs in the west side of the city! So far we've got Humberwood, Richview and now Runnymede! :)

Your Prez and Vice Prez in front of the very pretty Runnymede branch!
Close-up picture. Just look at the details on the both sides of the door! Gorgeous!

I want to thank Helen and Monica, the librarians at Runnymede who made the program possible on TPL's part and our future volunteers Jennifer, Pascale, Alexandru and 2 other girls whom I haven't yet met. So this branch will have 4 girls and 1 guy as volunteers! That's surely a first!

Group pic! From left to right: Me, Gal, Jennifer and Pascale. I love how there are more girls involved, hehe~ :)
Below are the details of this new location that will be targeting children from grade 6-8:

Runnymede Branch
2178 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON
M6S 1M8
Open from 2-4pm on Saturdays, starting from Saturday October 8, 2011.