Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview with Tina Fang - Founder of CITL in London

In my last post, I mentioned that I will be interviewing Tina with regards to her CITL program in London. So, are you ready for it? Now before we get started, allow me to introduce you to Tina:

Do you guys think that she looks like me? :)

So I asked Tina five very basic questions and I think that she answered all of them really well! It's always been other people interviewing me on such questions but never me interviewing others! This time, as the Founder of CITL, I get to hear this story from a different perspective, a different context, a different person. :)

1. Why did you decide to start up a Chess in the Library chapter in London?
Chess is fun and there are lots of kids interested in this game. However, the chess community in London was not very vibrant and there wasn't an organized place where kids can play each other for fun. When I heard about the Chess in the Library program, I thought that library is a great place for kids to play and the program would help promote chess in London, which is something that I've always wanted to do. 

2. What was the greatest obstacle that you had to overcome in the process? How did you accomplish it?
Fortunately, I did not come across many obstacles to start the program. The librarians were very supportive and were happy to have this program in their library. 

3. What do you find most rewarding about this experience?
After every session of CITL, I leave the library feeling very happy and proud of this program and the kids. The smiles on the kids' faces just light up mine. :)

4. You created a facebook group for the program in London. Tell me a bit more about its purpose.
My volunteer team are mostly my friends in high school and Facebook is a good way for us to communicate outside of school and the library. Having a Facebook group makes us feel that we are part of this team, and it is a place that allows members can share their ideas about CITL.

5. Do you plan on expanding the CITL program to other branches of the London Public Library?
Absolutely. For some of the kids and volunteers, the Masonville Library may not be their most convenient location. In addition, by expanding this program into other branches, the game of chess can be spread to an even greater area. In fact, a parent of a participant of CITL really liked the idea of CITL and enthusiastically offered to start this program at the Byron branch. It is now officially our second location in London!

Did you hear that? Tina has already influenced a second library in London to host the program! After reading her responses from this interview, I truly think that I should conduct a lot more similar interviews with different volunteers! Details on the new London location will be posted soon!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

CITL in London Update

I know that it's been so long since I wrote my last blog post but don't worry - Yuanling is back! :) 

The main reason for my prolonged absence on this blog is...graduation! Although I started CITL in grade 9, I am now in grade 12! Time flies, eh? Well, I needed to apply to many univerities and scholarships too, since tuition and residential costs are awefully expensive these days. Anyways, I'm 95% finished with all of my crazy applications and essay prompts so I'll be blogging on a bi-weekly basis again. Thank you for being so patient with me!

Alright, so the first post is going to be dedicated to our new program in London, organized by Tina Fang and her friends. Tina plays chess on an international level too! She recently represented Canada at the 2011 World Youth Chess Championships held in Brazil! The Chess in the Library family is super proud to have Tina as one of our newest members! 

I spoke to her several days ago asking about the program in London and was told that everything is running smoothly. There is a decent number of participants each week and the numbers are getting quite stable, which is excellent news! What I love the most is their fabulous self-designed poster:

simple and elegant

Tina also sent me a dozen pictures so that I can get the London CITL experience without having to spend 4 hours on the road getting there physically! Take a look:

Aww...this is simply my favourite picture! The 3 boys seem to be super excited about chess!

Time for some serious chess, eh?

Hmm...what to do?

Oh, look this way, boys! :)

Room setup; there are a lot more people in total than the ones you see!

The London program runs every Friday from 3:30-5pm. If you live nearby, feel free to drop by and take a look! You sure won't regret it! Here are the details of this location from our website if you need help getting there Support the London location!

I will be sending Tina several interview questions soon and in my next several posts, you'll get to gain a bit more insight in Tina and her CITL program in London. Stay tuned!