Lemuel "Life" LaRoche is the founder and executive director of Chess and Community Conference, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth empowerment organization dedicated to developing strategic leadership skills in young people. Known in the communities that he serves as Life the Griot, he fuses chess with conventional therapeutic methods to curb impulsive behavior amongst youth with delinquent pasts. Life has over fifteen years experience in adolescent and community development and brings a fresh innovative approach to counseling. His impact is felt in schools, prisons, and impoverished neighborhoods across Northeast Georgia. He is the subject of Life the Griot (2014), a documentary highlighting the work that he has accomplished in Athens, Georgia, and the surrounding areas.
Life was listed as one of Athens’ exceptional community leaders in 2013 and his organization has been featured in Georgia Magazine. He is the recent recipient of the President’s fulfilling the Dream Award, an award developed to honor those of the Athens and University of Georgia community who have dedicated their lives to carrying out the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life is also internationally renowned for his poetry, which he uses as a tool for empowerment, reconditioning, and community outreach. He is the author of two books, Tree of Life: The Human Ascension and Hidden Ripples: Life’s Unspoken Language. Life holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia.