We were lucky to catch up with Daniel Gay recently and have shared our conversation below.
Daniel, appreciate you joining us today. Risking taking is a huge part of most people’s story but too often society overlooks those risks and only focuses on where you are today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – it could be a big risk or a small one – but walk us through the backstory.
Risking Passion over Pay
I am a experienced private basketball trainer. With a BA in Sociology from Tennessee State University.
Through the years of training I’ve come across a large number of youth that want to learn the fundamentals of basketball but don’t have the resources to afford it. So for two years every Wednesday I devoted 2 hours of my time to train the youth for free. I had one rule. One hour of free basketball training in exchange for one hour of study time which included homework assistance. It also gave me the opportunity to introduce chess and journal writing. The success of program inspired the idea of creating a non-profit on a larger scale.
In 2017 I founded The Focus Program. A 501(c)(3) mentoring program that offers free basketball training and a chess club to young men in the community. Using basketball and chess as a tool to teach the life skills necessary to become the best version of themselves.
Fast forward to now. I’ve been blessed to open The Focus Program Youth Center in the heart of South Columbus- GA
Daniel, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I’m 36 years old Played basketball at Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Graduated from Tennessee State university with BA in Sociology
Experienced Private basketball trainer for CoachUp
Founder/Director of The Focus Program Inc.
I mentor male youth and teach them about Leadership, Manhood, Life Skills, the fundamentals of basketball and teach them how to play chess
Love and disclipine are the two most important things in this world. Because if I love you I’m gonna show you discipline and if I show you discipline it’s because I love you and that duality creates an environment conducive for mentoring and teaching the youth.
I am most proud of my Parents Daniel Gay Sr. And my Mother Terri Gay my sister Iesha Gay and my wife Michelle Gay and my kids Jamarion Gay, Zoe Gay, Maielle Gay, Serena Gay. Family is everything.
1 The Kingdom of God is within you. 2 Treat others how you want to be treated. 3 Respect yourself Be yourself and love yourself.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
Unlearn looking for validation and just be yourself. Be confident even in your losses. Know that you are great despite your mistakes.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
From 2017 to 2020 I operated my 501c3 non-profit business out of pocket. No grants or donations. I worked hard saved everything I could and kept The Focus Program going for the youth. Then finally in 2021 I received my first grant. Since then my program has been funded annually. It would have been easy to give up and go back to training 24/7 but my passion to help the youth would not allow me to. God made a way.
- Website: www.thefocusprogram.org
- Instagram: thefocusprogram
- Facebook: thefocusprogram