Author Archives: Michael Matza

Lifting the Weight of Incarceration

May 3, 2018, 3:00 PM, Posted by Michael Matza

InnerCity Weightlifting is a non-profit that understands building a foundation of hope is key to success after incarceration. We're looking for additional sports teams, athletes, and community-based organizations that are using sports to make their communities healthier.

InnerCity Weightlifting

An hour before his next client is due, Edgardo “Chino” Ortiz is in the glass-walled break room of InnerCity Weightlifting (ICW) in Cambridge, Mass., poring over a study guide to become certified as a personal trainer. Fiercely focused on achieving that goal, he is rarely separated from his worksheets.

“Prescribe RICE,” he says, circling the acronym for “rest, ice, compression and elevation” on a sample quiz question about injury.

All across America, men and women with similar ambitions are prepping for careers in physical fitness. But few share the unique drive that fuels 33-year-old Chino’s determination. For him, getting certified as a fitness trainer is a life-changing turning point, built on his smarts, his talent, and his grit.

Chino recently completed a sentence of five years in a Massachusetts state prison for shooting a man in the leg over drugs. For most former offenders, finding a good job is notoriously difficult. But Chino’s future looks promising because of his connection to ICW. 

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