Volunteer of the Year Winners 2011-2012

Joey Qin (Ottawa)

Joey founded his own CITL chapter in Ottawa two years ago. When he learnt of the Chess in the Library concept from our Founder Yuanling, he thought that it was a perfect platform for chess players to develop leadership skills. Today, Joey has overseen three different CITL programs in Ottawa with the ambition to expand further. He not only wanted to help kids learn the rules of the game, but also to help them establish a good basis for their knowledge.  Through CITL, Joey was able to become a more confident leader while developing good relationships with his volunteers and participants.  Aside from being a national master in chess, Joey is also very passionate about volleyball and tennis. However, he has ultimately put chess and CITL at the top of his priority list, sacrificing practices and meets just to give back to the Canadian chess community. When asked what changes he would like to see at CITL in the future, he answered – “Perhaps an annual festival in different cities so that the Ottawa kids don’t have to travel to Toronto each year!” Overall, Joey is one of our most valuable team members and we are extremely happy to see his programs in Ottawa doing better than ever.


Stefan LaculeAnu (Toronto)

Director of CommunicationsStefan LaculeAnu is one of CITL’s newest and most enthusiastic volunteers. He has only been volunteering for approximately the past six months, but he has been volunteering at 3 different locations: Malvern, Bridlewood, and Fairview! He has had a passion for chess since he was 6 years old, and despite early struggles, he managed to learn and quickly become adept at the game. After hearing about CITL from a friend, he decided to get more involved and revive his passion once again. Due to his first-hand experience of struggling to learn chess at an early age, he’s able to connect with the young beginners and patiently teach them starting from the basics. He loves kids, and finds that patience is one of the most important aspects when trying to teach someone. Stefan’s enthusiasm is not fuelled by volunteer hours, but rather by the learning children, dedicated parents, and his passion for chess.


Tina Feng (London)

Media Coordinator

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!


Yang Ji (Toronto)

Yang Ji is an adult volunteer at Fairview Library. He accidentally discovered the CITL program at Fairview by walking in. Although that was his first experience with CITL, his passion for chess extends all the way back to junior high when he actively played chess. After witnessing the program, he decided to help out as an adult supervisor as he strongly believed in promoting chess to the younger generation. Yang selflessly devoted himself to the program in order to increase participation even more. His greatest reward was not volunteer hours, but seeing the dedication and satisfaction of the kids after every session. By having a focus on teaching sessions, beginners of all ranges were able to participate. One time, the number of participants increased so much that there were approximately 55 people in the room for that one session. Unfortunately, Yang will be leaving CITL for some time in order to continue his education but plans to definitely return as soon as he can.


Mary Xu (Toronto)