Inner City Weightlifting works to help “high risk” youth gain social networks and marketable skills. Students participate learn to be personal trainers and work with clients. Not only does coming to the ICW gym give them a support system, a community, and an alternative to the streets, but they also gain valuable skills that help them to be employable. The skills they learn as trainers allow them to start a career or to take advantage of new academic opportunities.
The clients they train form the beginnings of a network that helps them access those opportunities. These youth are frequently segregated and isolated, not given chances to do things that most other people might take for granted. Their clients also get their own opportunity: to see a side of these youth other than arrests or jail time, to see them as real people instead of as just the labels they are given. Inner City Weightlifting works to change perceptions about high-risk youth as well as change the landscape of their lives and help them to stay out of jail and earn a living wage.