Evanston – Michelle Larson, has been a Crossfit owner in Evanston for a little over three years. “I opened my first Crossfit in a notoriously rough area near the high school. I saw a lot of fights. I saw a lot of kids peer in the door at my gym, curious. A lot of people only saw trouble. I knew that one day I would do something to help these kids, not just ignore them like so many do, “ said Larson.
That one day took place this August during her first free Crossfit class for kids at-risk in her new Crossfit Shoreside location at 1508 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. The kids were given some background on what crossfit is all about and how it differs from a typical gym. They were then taken through a serious of bodyweight exercises and instruction all leading up to the WOD (Workout of the Day), a crossfit staple that concludes every hour-long class. Crossfit is an education about movement, fitness, nutrition and community. All of these things require responsibility, common sense, and work to educate oneself using all the tools available in the crossfit community. It is these tools that Larson hopes the participants will learn and apply outside of class in their daily lives.
The City of Evanston and its Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department has partnered with Crossfit Shoreside to reach out into the community and create awareness for the program. Maurice Wilkerson, a Youth & Young Adult Outreach Worker with the City of Evanston, has worked with Michelle to help recruit kids for the class and even provides them transportation to and from the gym for the time being. “I think it’s great what Crossfit Shoreside is doing for the youth. It embodies the vision of the City of Evanston, which is to keep the youth off the streets and engaged in positive activities. The class helps the youth mentally and physically which is another great thing.”
Crossfit Shoreside is in the process of becoming a Steve’s Club Affiliate and will be raising money from the community to support its efforts and grow the program. The classes will take place once a week and accommodate time for kids to get back and forth after school.
CrossFit offers a positive framework and community to help at-risk youth grow into stronger and healthier individuals- both physically and mentally. Working out and eating well become second nature, and they learn life lessons in a supportive environment - discovering what they're capable of, pushing themselves to work hard and strive for something greater. Anyone interested in learning more should direct their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org