Inside 201 Poplar: How CrossFit is being used to change the lives of troubled youth

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- CrossFit is being used at 201 Poplar to help some inmates turn their lives around.

The young men, ages 18 to 24, at some point in their young lives made a mistake that landed them in jail.

They're in a special pod at 201 Poplar with the goal to turn their lives around.

Leading the workouts are James Lancaster and Joc Crawford.

For Lancaster, there's more to the program than getting fit,  "A lot of these guys have never been held accountable. They've never been, you know, told that they can do it a different way. That's what we want to establish. We want to establish a way to teach them to teach other guys."

Lancaster and Crawford grew up in Memphis.

They know each other from high school.

Now 29, the successful pair reunited and knew they wanted to do something to make a difference in their city.

They come to the jail once a week to do Crossfit.

For Crawford, who got who got in some trouble as a minor, coming back and working with the young men is personal,  "In here you have the guys that are in gangs, that know the gang leaders. They can tell them, 'Hey man, 'I'm not really on that gang stuff anymore' once they get out of here."

Their work is welcomed. One inmate told WREG's Shay Arthur, "By them coming in and helping us, 'We're like dang, we could do that, that could be us.'"

Crawford and Lancaster don't want this ripple effect of change to go on just inside the walls of 201 Poplar.

They hope their story inspires others in the community to channel their talents to help others in the city too.


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