Hello, I'm Steve. I started Steve's Club in May of 2007 in a large apartment complex located on the north side of Camden, New Jersey. Traditionally ranked as one of "America's Most Dangerous Cities,"
Camden can be a very rough place for a kid to grow up. It's a place that boasts a murder rate more than seven times the national average, despite occupying a total land area of only ten square miles. Daily life can prove to be an uphill battle. For a young kid trying to imagine a world outside of his or her own, the prospects can seem dark and bleak when violence and drugs are the orders of the day.
The cycle continues as kids are recruited at a disturbingly young age to begin a career selling drugs on the corner and rising through the ranks of the local gang. Any sliver of hope for a better future or "getting out" quickly gets washed away by the tempting allure of fast money, power, and the sense of belonging offered on the streets.
I can still vividly remember the first day that I lugged weights, bars, and equipment from my truck into the small community center room. As local commerce was bustling on that blazing hot summer day, the young kids on the corner (known as "hoppers") couldn't help but wonder what the heck I was doing. It wasn't long before two of the older kids walked over and showered me with questions. After I introduced myself and explained who I was and that I was starting a fitness program, the two kids just gave me a grave stare before turning away to resume their business. I pressed on.