• Gianna

#33 “Who Says?”

Have you ever heard the song Who Says by Selena Gomez? The lyrics go a little something like this... “Who says, who says, you’re not perfect. Who says you’re not worth it?” That song instantly came to my head as I wrote this blog.

This blog is all about Ashley Priore, the founder of the Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute. This is a place where chess is used to make a stronger Pittsburgh. It all started in 2014 when Ashley was only FOURTEEN. They have impacted three hundred students and partnered with fifty organizations to expand chess. 

Since interviewee #33 is so young, we need to start a little earlier than high school. During middle school, Ashley always had a million thoughts running through her mind, but she was very shy and kept them to herself. The transition from 8th grade to 9th grade went by, and Ashley came out of her shell. She was ready to let the world know who she was and share her passion for playing chess and writing. She experienced her favorite days in high school when she had the opportunity to interact in the community. Her mother worked at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, so she always found herself volunteering at the library and teaching chess to kids. 

Then came the idea. Do something with chess education - something big and something for herself and for her city. Ashley went straight to the adults in her life to get it all started. The people in charge at her school gave her some pushback. Then, she realized that she didn’t need anyone else to do this. They may have resources and money, but that is it. She created her own plan and went through the nonprofit process. Now, let’s remember Grounds of Changers, this girl was in high school! Check it out-

Ashley took her passion and built a pathway for others. Chess teaches three crucial skills - forward thinking, relationship building, and possible outcomes to life. The Queen’s Gambit helps students work through chess programming, community projects and consulting. Students use these to make Pittsburgh stronger. Ashley has been able to watch students transform into confident rock stars through the application of chess principles! 

This is where we get back to Selena Gomez. First off, who says? Who says YOU (yeah YOU) cannot make a difference in the world? Ashley ran into obstacles and decided to push through them and do her own thing. Look at what she has accomplished now! We can learn to be like Ashley and say “Who says? Who says you’re not perfect and who says you’re not worth it?” Who says guys, who says?

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