[Volunteer Interview] Frank, from Frank's Chess Academy LLC.

[Volunteer Interview] Frank, from Frank's Chess Academy LLC.

Frank is one of our cherished volunteer instructors. Frank works at his own chess education institution, Frank's Chess Academy LLC., and he comes into the Palisades Park program location every Friday afternoon to volunteer, teach, and encourage the students with chess.

How did you start volunteering with Give Chances?

I started volunteering with Give Chances when I received an email from Dr. Kim stating that he was interested in starting a chess program for the children at Give Chances in Palisades Park. We communicated via email and phone and agreed upon a schedule for the weekly class. After that, we had a meeting in Palisades Park, where I also met Ms. Bae and Ms. Paek, to confirm the final details.

Was there a reason why you started volunteering with the after-school program?

Yes, there was a very good reason why I started volunteering at Give Chances. I have been very fortunate in my life, and felt it was time to give something more back than just contributing financially to charities. It was time to share something more valuable; my time, knowledge, and love for the wonderful children that do not have the opportunities that so many of us take for granted.

Teaching and playing Chess has been a passion for most of my life, having started playing when I was 13 years old, and opening Frank’s Chess Academy in 2012. Chess helped me improve my grades in school, helped me make lifelong friendships, and taught me valuable life skills. It was only natural that Chess would become the vehicle I could use to reach out to children that might otherwise not have the opportunity to learn such a great game!

There was another very important reason I started volunteering for the after school program. Anyone that watches or listens to current events knows that the world’s political climate seems to be headed in the wrong direction. That being said, I realized it was time to get my head out of the sand, stop complaining, and do my small part to make the world a better place. Yes, one small person can make a difference! Just imagine if 1 person touches 10 others, and those 10 touch 10 people each, etc. Well, I didn’t need an advanced degree in mathematics to realize it was time to act.

These beautiful children are the future of our small planet. We have a responsibility to them, to show them that we care, to help them see that the world can be a great place if we love and care for one another. The feeling I get from volunteering a small amount of my time, is one that I cannot easily put into words. I recommend that everyone try it and you too will reap the tremendous rewards.

Please explain your volunteering experience. Also, was there a favorite moment you can remember?

My volunteering experience has been phenomenal. I believe you can see how touched I have been by the outpouring of love I get back from the children and staff at Give Chances.

My favorite moments have been the first day I taught at Give Chances, when most of the children did not know how to even move the pieces, and quickly learned what I had taught them, along with great help from Ms. Bae and Ms. Paek. Getting to work alongside these great young ladies and meeting all these wonderful children was definitely a great moment.

Another great moment was attending the 2018 Christmas concert and seeing all the children performing, and showcasing their amazing talents. It was great to be recognized with a beautiful plaque of appreciation, but it is I that should thank Give Chances for the opportunity to teach Chess to these wonderful children. The children made me a beautiful poster which I could not wait to display at my academy, along with my plaque. No honor could make me more proud!

What are your plans/expectations for the children/Joyful Learning After-school program?

My plans and expectations for the after school program are to firstly, see the children learn to play Chess correctly and improve their skills. Chess has been proven to assist with learning skills that can spill over into other academic areas. Secondly, I also hope we can grow the program so that we can add more children. Who knows, we might come across the next future Chess champion, and I want to help point him/her in the right direction!

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