MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A game of skill that has been around for decades is moving some at-risk youth from gang members to graduates.
Chess is changing their lives one move, one square at a time.
Brave Individuals Graciously Helping Others Make It Every Day--also known as BIG HOMIE--was launched by Timothy "Change" Jones, a musician and graduate of Sheffield High School who wanted to be the change that he wanted to see in his former community.
Jones, who admits to not being the best student, began mentoring and partnering with a gang reduction program called Grassy.
The program targets known gang members and attempts to offer a different path than the one that they are currently on.
Mr. Jones said the youth have been counted out by society as if they were pawns in the game of life. However, he doesn't think they're out of the game yet.
He is hoping many of the 11th graders will be able to think two or three moves ahead and improve their futures thanks to the skills they've learned in chess.
Jones challenges them to think, ask, and focus by making sure they are critical thinkers.
"You need to know why you moved it. You need to know what it's going to benefit. What it's going to cost you if it's going to cost you anything."
Timothy Jones is this month's Mid-South Hero because of his dedication to building lasting relationships, changing lives, and being a strong, generous role model.