Guardian Gym is a 501(c)3 nonprofit martial arts gym in downtown Oakland, California. They offer classes in boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and kick boxing. Their gym is free for kids ages 10 – 18, and offers affordable sliding-scale memberships for adults, that helps to maintain the facility.
Guardian is implementing a unique after school job program for some of the kids that train at the academy.
Guardian’s co-founder Ben Kovacs explanation of this great concept:
"It's become clear that many of our students at Guardian are suffering from not having "pocket change" money. This stresses them out, lowers their confidence, and is not something that is good for our community as a whole. Not having the money to grab a burrito, get on the bus, go to the movies, etc. There have been a lot of studies completed on providing low-income folks money without stipulations on how they spend it. Its' been shown that although there will of course always a small % of bad actors, in general, almost all the money goes to the right places. So I got to thinking.......
Guardian will create a pilot program where we fund 4 of our youth students using this concept. $65/week, $260/mo commitment to start. Taking it a step further, we will pay them to clean up the city streets, not only work with inside of the Guardian Gym confines. They will wear specially designated Guardian shirts, they pick up trash, scrub unwanted graffiti off walls, etc. I'll get Clorox and some other local companies to donate the bags & supplies. We simply don't have enough work anyway at the gym to put all those kids to work and many are desperate for something positive to accomplish. We will focus on the area where Guardian 2.0 is moving into in order to endear ourselves to that local community of folks, get to know neighbors, etc.
This will provide the kids much needed jobs, and if successful be scalable due to the limitless cleanup efforts needed in Oakland."
Live Jiu Jitsu is currently raising funds to pay the compensation expenses for one or more of the kids in the Cash2Clean program.