You Don’t Have to be a Black Belt to Make A Difference in Someone’s Life

Many young teens are busy hanging out with friends and scrolling on their phones. Not many of them are starting their own nonprofit organization — but that’s exactly what Jeffrey Wall ‘23 worked to accomplish. At just 13 years old, Wall founded Golden Age Karate, an organization that teaches senior citizens ages 60 - 100 martial arts.

Once Wall earned his black belt he was determined to do something with it to give back to a community different from himself. Wall spent a lot of time with his grandmother and recognized her loneliness and decided what better way to give back then to help seniors. The name “Golden Age Karate” was inspired by the “Golden years” of a seniors life. 

Now 17 — with four years of Golden Age Karate under his black belt, Wall has educated hundreds of seniors on how to protect themselves while providing them with confidence and joy along the way. His most recent accomplishment was being selected to give a TEDx presentation at TEDx Dayton this past October. 

“I was so excited to be selected as a presenter for this event,” Wall said. “I was a little nervous, not for myself, but for the seniors who volunteered to participate in my presentation. It turned out I didn’t have to be nervous about them at all because they did great and were so excited to be there with me. It was special as many of them have been on this journey with me for a while now.”

During his presentation, Wall demonstrated some of the work he does with his “ninja nana and papas.” A highlight of his presentation was his message of compassion about how you don’t have to be a black belt to share your gifts with seniors. It was a moving presentation that had many thinking of ways they could engage with other people and communities. 

While Wall enjoys helping others learn he acknowledges that he is always learning himself. During his presentation he noticed how much he enjoyed being up in front of a live audience. He recalls how bright the lights were and that he couldn’t clearly see anyone so it was easier than he had thought it would be to present. He is now considering how he can explore this new found skill. 

As Wall works towards graduation this spring, he looks forward to what lies ahead of him. He has dreams to grow Golden Age Karate by recruiting more martial artists nationwide to work with local nursing homes. He plans to pursue a college degree in business and film production to learn at a collegiate level how to best support his business. Social media has played a big part in promoting Golden Age Karate and film production could take his platform to the next level. This past January, Wall was recognized for his work with seniors by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) as one of just ten students nationwide to be awarded the 2021 Youth virtues, Valor and Vision Award. Wall was also recognized by the Dayton Business Journal as a member of the 5 Under 25 Innovators shaping Dayton’s future by creating new businesses and nonprofits. 

More on Jeffrey and his work with Golden Age Karate, can be found on social media: