Local Club Spotlight: FYR DC
Please join us in welcoming our newest Local Club, FYR DC in Washington, D.C. We had the chance to chat with FYR DC Founder, Jessica Salute, to learn why she decided to start a FYR Club in her community.
What motivates you to work with youth in your community?
I have taught in public schools for 19 years and became a teacher to help improve schools with high populations of kids in underserved neighborhoods. I currently work at an elementary school with 91% students labeled “at-risk.” It’s very challenging work and the need for improvement never stops, but I can’t imagine spending my days any other way.
I have had the pleasure of sharing my CrossFit journey with my kids, finding casual ways to teach them burpees, create little classroom WODs with squats and lunges, or show off my double unders.
I know FYR could be a new light in our community for kids. I love CrossFit because of the confidence it gives me that no other part of my adult life really does. I can’t wait to share that with the students I serve today.
How will FYR DC serve your community?
Because I know a lot about the school system and academic struggles, I hope we can find ways to become a supportive afterschool and summer option for local kids and even provide mentoring and tutoring.
We plan to eventually hold our classes at Petworth Fitness. Petworth is a community that is at the heart of DC’s gentrification. By starting FYR DC, I hope our gym community, which by nature caters to the wealthier, newer population of the neighborhood, will serve the kids of families who have been in the neighborhood much longer.
Why do you believe fitness can and should be used to impact the lives of youth in your community?
As a public school teacher, my CrossFit membership has always been a financial sacrifice for me, but I always tell people it’s the best part of my regular bills each month. I can’t wait to introduce this way of life to kids whose families wouldn’t be able to send them to a CrossFit kids class at another gym.
My daily workouts totally affect my mood and emotional balance. It gives me a confidence and peace that I don’t think I access in any other way. At work each day, I have a student who can tell within 10 minutes of the class starting if I went to the gym or not, based on my mood. She says, “You went to the gym today! You seem so happy!” It’s super important for me that I teach my students and kids of my community this life skill in addition to academics because I know a commitment to fitness can help them in their lives and wellness SO much.
The community where I teach and where our gym is suffers from a lot of violence, especially gun violence. I know that if we can build more and more opportunities for kids and teens to access mental health through fitness and nutrition, we can slowly chip away at the suffering that causes such violence. It may sound idealistic, but through my years of teaching and experience in fitness and my own personal life struggles, I just know it’s possible. I believe our gym has a responsibility to use its 4 walls to be a part of change in a young person’s life.
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