In this weekend's Boston Globe Magazine, business columnist Shirley Leung writes about InnerCity Weightlifting, the Dorchester gym that has provided a source of support and job opportunities to formerly incarcerated men by helping them become personal trainers. For the past two years, founder Jon Feinman has been pairing members of the gym with employees at Microsoft's New England headquarters for training sessions. Now he plans to take the idea one step further and open a gym in the heart of the Cambridge tech community. As Leung writes:
Come February or so, his theory will face the ultimate test when he opens a gym in Kendall Square, the playground of computer geniuses, scientists, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs. It’s an expensive proposition for a nonprofit — a $1.5 million lease over five years, for which InnerCity Weightlifting is still fund-raising. But Feinman, InnerCity’s founder and executive director, feels certain this is exactly where his program needs to be if the goal is to get men on a path out of their dangerous world and into one with possibilities. “We felt it was a greater risk not to make this investment,” says 31-year-old Feinman, who himself worked as a personal trainer and earned an MBA from Babson College before launching InnerCity.
The concept is so starkly simple you can’t help but wonder if it could succeed. Can we lift people up from the bottom by exposing them to the people at the top?
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