After school weightlifting program helps students cope with mental and physical strength

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 8:03 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “It’s like every time I squat down it makes m e feel great , it makes me feel proud of myself for doing challenging things,” says 11 year old Andrell Singleton from West Middle School. He wouldn’t want to be anywhere else after school....The Rockford Barbell is his safe place. His sister Adrian joins him she says she likes doing the deadlift workouts, “anytime I’m a little down after I leave I’m like I’m going to have the best day ever and that’s really fun,” says Adrian Singleton.

Rockford Barbell offers free afterschool programs for kids ages 10 to 18 using weightlifting to build mental and physical strength. “We’re teaching them self-awareness, social-interaction, responsible decision making using weight-lifting,” says Elliot Ganet Rockford Barbell’s executive director. A group of teachers started the program in 2019 after seeing a need for social and emotional support outside the classroom. A recent grant will keep the program going on for an additional year.

“The best parts of what we get to do is to come out and see the good work that our donors have allowed to occur in this community,” says Dan Ross the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois president.

“When I come to Rockford Barbell it feels like a true dream and miracle,” says Singleton.

It is one of Rockford Barbell’s founding principles to be an accessible option for improving mental health outcomes of youth. You can find more information about the

program or how to register your child at

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