Local gym helping build brighter future – WTOC

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – This isn’t exactly where Kerri Goodrich expected she’d end up in life.
“I was the person that said I’m never having children. I only want to have horses, maybe out in Montana, and I never want to be around people. So, God has a sense of humor,” says Goodrich.
In fact, growing up she really had no interest in weightlifting, until.
“I was hit by a drunk driver, had a bad back injury and refused to get surgery,” Goodrich explains.
Instead Kerri was connected with a weightlifting coach who claimed he could help her fix her back without surgery.
After she started lifting, “I was hooked.”
Not only would her back get better but Kerri would go on to lift for team USA and take home multiple national titles.
But just as she was beginning seeing her future clearly.
“I had some internal bleeding, a series of surgeries, which resulted in a complete hysterectomy. So, I was no longer able to compete on that level,” Goodrich says.
So, as Kerri tried to figure out what to do next, something she never expected happened, she felt a calling to open her gym to others, specifically, kids
So yeah, it’s not what Kerri would’ve planned but something she seemed destined for.
“This is what God laid on our hearts, is to use weightlifting to reach others. But to encompass a whole person, not just to develop an elite level athlete but and neglect their emotional and spiritual development.”
Since Kerri opened Performance Initiatives in 2005, they’ve seen plenty of athletic success.
“We’ve had over 16 team USA members, all different ages from youth all the way up.”
But more important to her, she’s been able help at risk youth find success outside of the gym by using her sport, “as an incentive to enhance their education and their other developments. So, as they progress as an elite level athlete their identity just isn’t what they do on the platform. Their identity is themselves, they’re very secure in who they are with our without the sport.”
Performance Initiatives not only trains them in the gym but they also other academic resources, counseling and even help with food security, in unique ways.
“Our recent addition is our chicken coup with our chicks. We raised the chickens and now we have fresh eggs every day. So, they take care of chickens and they get to take the eggs home and cook them and use them.”
Certainly not something you’d find at a typical gym.
But as Kerri explains, this isn’t your typical gym, and these aren’t your typical weightlifters.
“A lot of them give me courage watching them go through their struggles and being comfortable enough in a safe place to ask for help and then courageous enough to follow through it and continually grow through trauma, pain, hurt abuse.”
So whether dealing with damage caused by a car wreck, or neglect, this gym may just be full of some of the strongest people who luckily now don’t have to carry any weight alone.
“I love it. I wouldn’t change it. I would never have planned it, but I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it.”
For more information on their programs click here.
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