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Van-Far student creates program for athletes in need

Posted on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 4:23 pm

By Woodrow Polston

Van-Far High School student, Gage Gibson, recognized a need in the community for student athletes who lack the necessary equipment for playing sports. He decided to take action and created a program called “Fair Play” for students to use. The program, he said, will provide basic items of necessity for students to use on the court and field.
“I recognized the need for this program while I was at a game,” said Gibson. “I was umpiring for the local Khoury league and noticed young athletes who loved the game but weren’t properly equipped to play to their fullest potential. During the game the team hit the ball in play, and it was the last out. If they had scored the next run, they would have won the game. A player slipped out of the batter box real bad and lost by about a step. I went home after the game was over and really thought about it the next day. I realized how unfair it was because he was wearing shoes and everyone else on the field had cleats on. I recently went to HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth) Leadership camp to learn about community involvement and leadership, and there I worked with a group to help me create this and come up with a name for it. Basically, I want to help kids who do not have the opportunity to do things other kids do because of a lack of money for basic gear,” he added.
According to, HOBY programs are conducted annually throughout the U.S., serving local and international high school students. HOBY programs provide students selected by their schools to participate in unique leadership training, service-learning and motivation-building experiences. Gibson said that he is looking forward to offering this service to the community.
“I have set up a Facebook page for people to follow and I have received about $500 in donations so far. I am still working on figuring out the best location to keep donated items. I live outside of town so it would not be convenient for people to come to my house. This service is available to anyone in Audrain County, so it is not a program that is exclusive to Vandalia. If there is an instance where a person is having trouble making it to Vandalia to pick up an item, I would be flexible in meeting them or even traveling as far as Mexico for example. I haven’t had much interest yet, but I am expecting to be busy when we get closer to the season,” said Gibson.
For more information, contact Gage Gibson on his Facebook page at