How One CES Employee Is Supporting Young Men Without Fathers
City Electric Supply (CES) Hutto Branch Manager Arthur “Buzz” Carruth has spent the last 18 years as the Texas program director of Team Focus, working for a cause dear to his heart — supporting young men without fathers. He has helped many young men, including two who now work in the electrical business because they said they wanted to “be like their Uncle B.”
How Buzz Found Team Focus
So how did they get connected with Uncle B? The story starts in 2008 — on the day Buzz first learned about Team Focus. It was also the day he started working there. Mike Gottfried, renowned former head football coach and game analyst, was at Buzz’s church to share how he started Team Focus.
“Growing up without a father around and knowing what that feels like, I have a desire to provide a place for young men to come and be encouraged, motivated, and challenged,” said Mike.
He and his wife, Mickey, started Team Focus in 2001. Since then, they have seen over 5,000 fatherless young men impacted by the program. The program uses methods such as individual mentoring, academic support, newsletters, social activities, scholarship activities, and leadership camps. According to their website, Team Focus is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They help fatherless young men ages 10 to 18 develop as leaders to become positive influences in the world.
Mike’s story and the mission of Team Focus moved Buzz. He was so moved, he decided to do something about it. Right away.
“When he finished talking, I walked straight up to him and said I wanted to help in Austin,” said Buzz. “He said, ‘Good. You’re the director.’”
How Buzz Met the Young Men
From there, Buzz began setting up annual summer camps and other events for fatherless young men in his area. At one of these camps, Buzz met a couple of 11-year-old twin young men who were getting into a little trouble in school.
“We gave them something else to do,” said Buzz about the impact Team Focus had on the two young men. “I watched them grow — in summer camps and other activities.”
But when they graduated high school, they got into some more trouble.
“I was able to help,” explained Buzz. “I worked with the young men and brought in a lawyer to help.”
With Buzz’s help, both of the young men’s records were clean. The young men were so touched by Buzz’s help and inspired by his kindness that they pursued careers in the electrical business, just like Uncle B. They are both now working as licensed electricians, and they still keep in touch with Buzz.
And those young men are not the only ones with stories like this.
How Team Focus Is Helping
“I think about the discipline that Team Focus gave me — we had great leaders who were the male influence I needed at the time,” said Team Focus alumnus Mario Butler. “Growing up in a home without a father, I really needed that discipline. So, it may have felt a little rough at first, but it was exactly what I needed.”
Team Focus has many similar reviews.
“My time at the Team Focus camp has been the most amazing week of my life by meeting all the great NCAA and NFL players,” said Aaron Andrew Culp from the Ohio chapter. “This week, I felt really special and that there are people who care for me other than my grandmother who is raising me. I have met a lot of new, great friends.”
Testimonies like this, and the overall success of the program, have caught the attention of many — including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Laura Bush.
“My gratitude goes to the Team Focus organizers and mentors who make these terrific camps possible. By instilling the values of service, social responsibility, and academic excellence, you give our youth the tools they need to build futures filled with opportunity and faith,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I’m very glad we met. President Bush and I are grateful for your steadfast commitment to providing positive role models for young men and helping them to develop as leaders. Best wishes for the continued success of Team Focus,” said Laura Bush.
How Team Focus Is Doing with COVID-19
The power of Team Focus is undeniable, but they’ve had a rough year.
“Due to COVID-19, we have had to cancel our annual fundraising banquets and summer camps with our young men,” said Mike.
“COVID has killed all of the fun social activities we usually do,” added Buzz. “I can’t tour to raise money. I can’t host camps.”
Team Focus has had to get creative with Zoom and other similar resources to stay in touch with members. While it’s been difficult, they haven’t given up. Buzz is holding out hope for a better 2021.
“My wish is for all of us to get vaccinations so we can go back to meeting with these young men and helping them like we did before,” said Buzz.
How Team Focus Hopes to Move Forward
While it’s always been a cause dear to his heart, it’s even more personal to Buzz now because of the recent passing of his father.
“Most men work with me because they have a father wound — either that their fathers were absent or not available. I’m not that guy,” said Buzz. “I grew up with a dad, and he was a part of my life every day. My dad was dear to me, and he passed away just a few months ago. My heart breaks for these men who didn’t have that, and Team Focus has given me the opportunity to help.”
Hopefully, the help will continue.
“We hope to be able to get back to our Summer Leadership Camps this year,” said Mike. “Each chapter spends four to five days on a college campus each summer, which include lots of inspirational speeches from community leaders and businessmen, mock interviews, manners, etiquette, formal dining, sports, and key teachings like how to tie a tie.”
Buzz can’t wait to get back to helping young men the way he helped the twins that followed his footsteps into the electrical business — and CES can’t wait to watch him do it. CES is so proud of Buzz for all of his work with Team Focus and wishes them the best in the rest of this year.
If you are interested in learning more about Team Focus, please visit their website. Donations can also be sent to the Team Focus Administrative Office at P.O. Box 91626, Mobile, Alabama 36691 or through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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