SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - You don’t have to train hard to prepare yourself for a better future at one of the area’s most inspiring gyms.
WTOC took a look at how the Community Champions at Performance Initiatives are helping kids in several ways. They are lifting a lot of weight - and a lot of lives.
“My training has been excellent. I came in, I was kind of chubby, but now I’m tall, skinny, muscular,” said Keontay Price.
Price is one of hundreds of young people who has transformed his body and his direction through Kerri Goodrich’s after-school Olympic weightlifting program that is scoring high points across the board.
“We have tutors, we have a computer lab, we have a library. We have professionals who come in and work with kids academically. We partner with Second Harvest for our meal program and our snacks so they have a healthy, nutritious component too."
Performance Initiatives has kids committed to various levels of working out for every objective, from conditioning to competition.
"We have two girls who just medaled at the Youth World Championships for the first time, their first worlds.
“I saw my cousin going places and going out of town and I wanted to do that too. I couldn’t just come with him. It wasn’t a free trip. You had to work to go on it, so I decided to come to the gym and start working out.”
Na’Erykah Goodwin has earned two gold medals at different national competitions in five years with Performance Initiatives. About 500 kids who have come through the program since 2005 are seeing other results from their own progress in the gym.
“It’s motivating because you see their smiles. You see what it means to them and their confidence. Then, they go back to school more confident and they just thrive from there.”
The WTOC Community Champions at Performance Initiatives are helping kids open doors beyond the gym.
“They can go as far as they want. We have kids who graduate and go to college on scholarships for weightlifting or scholarships academically in another field, so it’s up to them where they want to go.”
Membership at Performance Initiatives is free for any student who qualifies for free lunch at school, and is $20 a month for everyone else.