Dahkim Gatling is the kind of person who has pride in his work, no matter the job. He has been a bus driver and member of TWU Local 100 for sixteen years, and has also founded an organization that gives back to children in need in deserving New York communities.
M.A.D. Focus, or Motivation, Ambition and Determination = Focus, was founded in 2013 and has hosted a variety of events that have provided children with school supplies, toys, and scholarships.
“I understood that just giving kids hope is something that they need,” Gatling says.
That’s how Gatling described his reason for creating his foundation. He hosts a “minimum of four” events a year, all of which are done on his own time and often requires him to meet with organizations to raise the funding or supplies he needs.
I understood that just giving kids hope is something that they need. — Dahkim Gatlin
Gatling champions education, and tries to instill a love and motivation to learn in the children he interacts with. He hosts an annual scholarship competition, called The Children are M.A.D. (Making a Difference), where he encourages applicants to create something meaningful in exchange for a chance to win a $200, $100, or $50 prize.
“I think education is the key to anything,” he says, “I let them know that you have to be more knowledgeable and the only way you’re gonna be that is with studying.”
He was nominated by Jennie Gregory, who has worked alongside Gatling for fifteen years and was recently named Depot Chairwoman. She says that he’s a natural born leader, and his passion for helping others is obvious.
“This is something where if you don’t love it, it won’t be easy to you,” Gregory says. “And he loves it, that’s why it’s easy. I see that in him. It’s not like a burden because this is something he loves to do.”