In July 2012, Stockton, Calif., became the largest U.S. city to file for federal bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9. The same year, it ranked 10th on a list of most dangerous cities in the country, and it was ranked second in the state. This year, Stockton was named the third-most-illiterate city in America, with fewer than 17 percent of adults holding a college degree.
“A lot of our families are struggling financially, so the focus is on the day-to-day things, on surviving, on how they’re gonna get the food on their table, how they’re going to pay their next bill,” says Kristina Garcia, a child psychologist.
Few children or teenagers have access to extracurricular activities in Stockton. But at CrossFit 209 Sport, owners Vince Carter and Gabe Subry are changing that.
“Vince is just kind of giving these kids like a second home,” Subry explains. “It kinda keeps them off the streets as opposed to being out of school and going out and gettin’ into trouble. They’re comin’ in and they’re tacklin’ their back squat or their bench press.”
Carter says it’s about more than getting people healthy.
“We’re changing lives now. It’s a proven fact,” he says. “We could be so much more than just coaches ... . And CrossFit can do that.”
Jamill Thomas says CrossFit gives him the work ethic to hit the books—and the field—hard.
“Pain is beauty,” he says, “that’s something I have learned.”
Video by Jay Vera.
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Additional reading: More Than the Street: A Steve’s Club Story by Liz Wolfe with Lee Knight and Steve Liberati, published Aug. 2, 2012.