High-risk youth will get high-intensity workouts

Published: Jan. 3, 2018 at 10:02 PM CST
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While some of us are gaining momentum on fitness resolutions, there are also teens in our area who could benefit from working out.

However, many don't have access to equipment or know where to start.

Katie Mitchell, a cross-fit instructor and physical education teacher plans to change that.

"It's a population that I'm very passionate about," she says.

She grew up with foster siblings who had backgrounds with no access to fitness programs.

So she's partnering with Annie Ginty and Danielle Young from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University, to run a 12-week workout program at the Cove, a center where homeless teens can go after-school to do homework, have a hot meal, and soon, get fit.

Kenneth McAdam, the Cove's Program Manager, is ready to implement the bi-weekly fitness sessions as soon as possible.

"A lot of them need that exercise," he says. "We want to create a safe place for them to thrive and set them up with habits that will continue through adulthood."

The high-intensity workouts may also help the teens work out deeper issues.

"We know that exercise helps with depression and mental health, so we're excited to see that," says McAdam.

The Baylor professors plan to track inward progress with student feedback on feelings, confidence, and any social changes.

They will also track outward progress with health markers like weight and body fat percentage.

"They're going to be able to see themselves getting stronger," says Mitchell.

She hopes after gathering data from the initial 12-week run, the program will be expanded.

"We really want to be able to create a larger research project and reach out to more adolescents and teens in the Waco area."

The program is slated to begin late January, but Katie wants to ensure participants are prepared.

"Things that sometimes we take for granted but are needed- these teens don't have," she says.

She's working on getting equipment, water, workout shoes and comfortable clothing for the teens.

"That would excite them if they could have that."

She believes these upcoming twelve weeks could lead at-risk teens to create better fitness habits, and even a better life.

"I want to be able to provide that for them," says Mitchell.

"This is one way to get started."

To donate gently-used equipment or workout gear, please email

To provide a monetary contribution, visit the GoFundMe page titled, "Helping At-Risk Kids Workout!” (link provided)