This week we had the great pleasure to chat with friends from our beloved Brick City of Newark, startup wellness venture, Brick City Strength! Not just another stellar, hard cranking Cross-fit gym, thought they are that, they are inspired with a mission to kindle a culture of higher wellness among the young people of Newark. They are one of the amazing Newark startups competing in the Rising Tide Start Something Challenge for resources to help grow and achieve their vision.
Who is the founding team?
Veronica Pagel - Co-Owner - Masters in Athletic Training (Seton Hall), CrossFit Coach/Strength and Conditioning Coach, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist
Jerry Andrews - Co-Owner - Bachelors in Public Health (Rutgers), CrossFit Coach/Co-Owner of Absolute Strength Gym, in pursuit of further psychology education (6seconds certification, Masters degree)
Brick City Strength: On a mission to empower Youth!
Why did you decide to start Brick City?
Both of us want to be able to create change at a younger age and provide kids with opportunities that most of us only wished that we could have had. To be able to show a child their potential and limitless possibilities by way of building strength, confidence and increased well-being, we are hoping to create a positive culture where achieving greatness is the "norm". Jerry, being born in Newark, raised in the area as well as going to high school in Newark, wanted to always give back to where he is from. Veronica has been working at a public school in Plainfield,NJ and has seen the effects of administrations who seemingly forget the reason that they are serving - and that is the students! Together, we want to make lasting change for future generations.
What is the toughest challenge you have faced so far?
Actually launching our gym. With all of the paperwork/permits/obstacles, we have had to alter the way that we have started to bring our service to the area.
But that has not stopped us! We have created affiliations with surrounding schools have already delivered our services prior to the opening of our brick and mortar.
What gifts does the team have that empower you to charge through the challenges?
We have a unified vision for Brick City Strength Academy and we know how wonderful this service will be for the students we will affect. Jerry has over 10 years of experience as a gym-owner and countless hours of counseling experience. Veronica has over eleven years of experience working in an urban public school and facing the challenges of working with students who don't have lots of support and belief in themselves. Knowing how many lives can be changed for the better keeps us plugging through the challenges right now.
Brick City Fitness was one of a select group of Newark native startups in the Rising Tide Capital Start Something Challenge
What is your dream vision for Brick City?
We have multiple dreams for Brick City Strength. First and foremost is to create a curriculum for the schools of the area to introduce the students to fitness and nutrition partly through CrossFit. From this curriculum, we hope to create a platform for vocational high schools whereas by taking our course, the students will then be able to sit for a personal training exam, giving them the tools needed to possibly even create a career for themselves based off of what they have learned with Brick City Strength Academy. One of our other visions is to create a mentoring program for at-risk youth.
We hope to do this by teaming up a Newark-based working professional and a student who couldn't necessarily afford a membership and creating a lasting, two-fold bond through physical fitness and interactions, as well as bolster the integration of Newark's community. We know there is so much more to spring from this