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Jay Urich starts a non-profit to help children in need
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Jay Urich starts a non-profit to help children in need

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

Jay Urich has a lot on his plate, but that won’t stop the South Carolina redshirt junior quarterback from trying to help others. Urich, who has also played receiver and on special teams, is starting a non-profit organization called Original Design, which aims to help children. The 501(c)(3) will focus its efforts in Columbia, initially.

“Original Design exists to provide resources, opportunities, and supportive relationships necessary for children to live healthy and honorable lives,” Urich said. “How we’re going to do that is through public health, faith and football.

“I’ve always had a passion for the sport of football. Going into high school, I started really diving into my faith. So, that’s another big part of my life. Coming to college, I was undeclared as far as my major. I decided to go with public health. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with that. Now everything is coming together. Those three things are my life, and I put extreme value in those three things.”

Urich’s vision for the 501(c)(3) came to light in February in a discussion with friends as to where his life was headed.

“I remember having this feeling that I wanted to dream more,” Urich said. “I wanted to use what I have and what I’ve been given to influence other people in a great way.

“Before that I wouldn’t have considered myself a dreamer. From that moment, I started understanding that this was something I really wanted to do.”

Urich reached out to former Gamecocks Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw, and both said they would be willing to help.

“We want to build this on a solid foundation where we can actually be set up long term to help these children,” Urich said. “The children we’re helping are in the age range of 10-to-12 years old.”

“I’m just grateful that I get to be here, and I get to chase my passion outside of football”

Urich is graduating in December, and he hopes to put his degree in Public Health to work quickly.

“In public health, the thing we learn is that the three biggest ways to influence health are diet, exercise, and health care,” Urich said. “These are the biggest determinants in living a healthy life.

“I want to focus on diet, exercise and add in mental health.”

Faith will also be a factor in the foundation, and Urich knows that many of the children they will reach will have grown up under different family and economic circumstances.

“What we’re going to do with faith is focus on identity and character,” Urich said. “I want to show them that their life matters. They are a child of God and their worth does not come from their situation, good or bad.

“We’re also going to focus on character. Identity and character flow hand in hand.  It’s hard to have good character if you don’t have good identity.”

Football has a role in helping to connect all of the elements as Original Design will host camps in the future to bring children together.

“We’re going to mainly focus on work ethic and accountability,” Urich explained. “I have a great opportunity to teach these children what we get taught every day.”

Urich’s intention is for the program to be more than just one event that reaches the children.

“We’re going to have programs. Camps are going to be a big part of it,” Urich said. “Right now, we’re talking about how we’re going to sustain this momentum. My vision for this is not to be a one-camp thing and the kids go home and never hear about Original Design again. We want to go deep, not wide. We want to impact the children and interact and develop them in a deep way.”

The non-profit will partner with the School of Public Health for implementing these programs, and its board will consist of Urich, Lattimore, Shaw, and Dan Lian, pastor of New Spring Church.

“I have a lot of All-Americans around me,” Urich said. “So many different people are surrounding me, and I’m grateful. I don’t have this opportunity if I’m not at the University of South Carolina. I’m just grateful that I get to be here, and I get to chase my passion outside of football.”