There’s no secret the tech industry suffers a reputation for harmfully disrupting a community. But not everyone in tech is to blame for the negative effects. In 2015 Ben Kovacs and Joel Lunenfeld founded the non-profit Guardian Gym, a buy-one give-one mixed martial arts gym/after-school program that now boasts over 300 adult members and youth mentees. Kovacs attributes the success of the gyms growth partly to Dick Costolo’s example at Twitter.
“He talked to the people, he made everyone feel important, everyone thought he was their friend,” Kovacs said. “And I realized that we needed to build a similar type culture if we wanted to be here for the next couple of decades.”
The first of its kind gym is outgrowing its current space and is in the process of securing a second location to meet the community’s needs. Kovacs plans on having a proper classroom space, nap pods, indoor/outdoor BBQ and lounge area, as well as an all-youth jiujitsu and boxing program from 5-9 p.m. that runs concurrently with the adults.
“Imagine a place a kid could go every day and essentially have everything they need to be healthy, to get their exercise out, eat nutritious meals, and of course do their homework,” said Kovacs.
You can donate to the new site on their Gofundme page.