By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With a mentally ill and abusive father and six siblings, Amanda Jones lived in north Philadelphia and attended 12 different schools.

At Franklin Learning Center she began playing chess. She called it an “open door,” gaining skill, winning at citywide tournaments and earning the title of Female Player of the Year from the Philadelphia Youth Chess Challenge program.

At the same time, Sheppard Elementary School, in a depressed Kensington neighborhood known for violence and drugs, but with high performing kids, needed help with its after school chess program. Amanda, an 11th grader, assisted the coach, teaching kids how to attack and defend pieces. The Sheppard team won first place at an All Girls Chess Tournament at Drexel University.

Amanda didn’t allow adversity to stop her from personal achievements. Now at Community College of Philadelphia, she earned a $1,000 scholarship for her academic record, chess performance and her commitment to helping others.

Giving back – a good lesson at holiday time.