Local organization sets example for young men in Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus man is giving back to the community that shaped him and offering young boys mentorship and guidance through different avenues.

Daniel Gay is the director of the Focus program, he founded the organization in 2017 while coaching basketball and saw a need for mentors in the community. He also noticed a lack of financial resources and negotiated free basketball training for study time.

“I’m really passionate about children and everything we embody here stems from my life,” Gay said.

The Focus program focuses on five pillars: education, leadership, life skills, social skills and etiquette. All young men taking part are between the ages of 10 and 24, and anyone under the age of 17 must be accompanied by a parent.

The organization provides boys in Columbus and Phenix City with physical and mental training. They practice basketball twice a week and several other mental workouts throughout the week. They can also join the chess club, take classes in financial literacy, coding and computer programming, and be offered homework help.

Gay said the program aims to teach young men to think ahead and that chess is used as a game of strategy to teach this.

“I have an open door policy so they can call or text me when they need to. It’s a great thing because there are a lot of unhappy kids who don’t have no solid family back home, so they can come here and enjoy it a bit,” Gay said.

Jadarian Holloway, 13, has been involved with the Focus program for five years and has opened his own clothing line which helps fund his education at a local private school.

“It definitely helped me in life, basketball. It helped me get better at basketball, it helped me learn to play sports, other sports, not just basketball like chess or whatever. It helped me in life and in public speaking,” Holloway said.

Holloway describes the program as fun, helpful and encouraging. He said he made countless new friends through the program and that his involvement made acceptance into his new school possible.

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