Its leaders like the “One Man Chess Machine” (more commonly known as Nishad Sharker), who make this month's Team Leader Spotlight shine so bright. Nishad is someone who has clearly found his volunteer calling - in the form of leading an afterschool chess club for youth. Nishad exemplifies commitment in every sense of the word and sets a wonderful example of what it means to be there for the long-term, returning to chess club week after week.
It all began back in 2011 at Nishad's first New York Cares project, Chess Club at Woodside Public Library – the same project he now leads. In less than three months, Nishad was running the program on a weekly basis, every Friday evening - rarely taking a day off. In fact, his Program Manager often reminds him to take a break once in a while.
But you may be thinking, chess? Haven’t heard that game mentioned recently. While chess may not be as frequented as say, video gaming or candy crushing, there’s no denying the educational value it serves as a teaching and learning tool. Chess is about more than just moving Kings, Queens, Bishops, and Pawns. The game encourages players to think strategically, foresee consequences, weigh options and make decisions. Nishad shares,“I enjoy encouraging children to think critically and plan ahead. Chess is a great way to introduce these concepts to children in a fun and interactive way.”
But running the most successful chess program at New York Cares wasn't always easy. As a Friday evening project in Woodside, Queens, the volunteer turnout at times wasn't so stellar. That didn’t stop Nishad. Over the years, Nishad's leadership has attracted and built a community of chess volunteers that have supported this wonderful and increasingly popular program. We are so grateful for Nishad's committment to the Chess Club and for demonstrating leadership that inspires young minds every week.
There's no doubting that Chess Club at Woodside Public Library has met it's match.