Local advocate reaches at-risk youth through the game of chess in West Philadelphia

Rakeem Jeter says he likes to take a different approach to engage his West Philadelphia community.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In West Philadelphia, Rakeem Jeter, who goes by 'Rock,' is using the game of chess to reach at-risk teens at the corner of 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue at Clark Park.

"I engage the community as they walk past, 'Hey, what's up? Want to know how to play chess?'" said Jeter. "As we're playing, we can talk about life."

Jeter says he likes to take a different approach to engage his West Philadelphia community, that's riddled with crime and a climbing murder rate.

RELATED: Germantown man marching to DC to stop Philadelphia's gun violence

"In this fight that we're fighting, there are many different ways to be attacked, and one way is the mentality," he said. "People are moving without thinking or without thinking about the consequences or repercussions."

Jeter is familiar with the city's youth facilities and even served prison time himself.

"It is personal for me because it's about the foresight to see what comes with the actions they're doing," he said.

While everyone that walks by doesn't always want to play, Jeter says the seat across is rarely empty.

ALSO RELATED: Free Philadelphia basketball camp aims to inspire youth on and off the court

Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.