CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – During the day, you can find Tony Odom cutting hair. Something he’s been doing for years.

“My friends, they have kids, they grow up. I’ve been cutting hair. A lot of the time barbers, we start cutting kids’ hair at one year old,” he said.

He said being a barber, he knows a lot of the people who are being killed by gun violence in Champaign.

“I had a little kid just last week. I had a kid in the chair cut his hair, he’s not here anymore,” he said.

That’s why he said something needs to be done.

“These are people’s lives being lost at early ages. They haven’t even lived yet. It’s pure sadness,” Odom said.

From conversations in the barbershop, to mentorships on the basketball court. Odom wants to make sure these kids can put something else in their hands.

“Everybody wants to say put the guns down, stop the violence. Right okay, what’s the option? What is the alternative for me putting the gun down? What are you going to put in my hand to replace it?”

He’s hoping it’s a basketball.

“Basketball is a way to create opportunity for yourself. So, we just want to get better at doing that, get better at mentoring the kids, showing them that we love them,” he said.

And the people who are bringing their kids said it’s important to have something like this.

“It’s so great that someone wants to facilitate those things for them, especially if they have no where to go. They come out here and play ball with Tony or learn how to play ball and even fraternize with other boys their age and learn we all love each other and we’re in a community,” Jenell Hendrix, one of the mothers, said.

Odom said he’s tired of watching people he knows get hurt.

“Instead of me just feeling like I’m on the outside looking in, I want to do something. Because I’m having customers getting murdered, I’m having customers go to jail, I’m having customers facing hardships,” he said.

Odom is at Hazel Park in Champaign every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 until 8 p.m. having these “workouts”. He said anyone from the community is invited. They also have kids playing soccer and practicing football drills.