This Program Wants to Change Kids’ Lives Through Fitness

Boston Iron Kids Club uses CrossFit to help marginalized children find support and success.

Iron Kids Club

Ramos with some of the boys she coaches. Photo provided

Over the years, CrossFit has made a name for itself—for better or for worse—as one of the hardest, most intense workouts around. But Tina Ramos sees it as much more than a grueling fitness regimen.

Ramos is the owner of CrossFit Kids Boston and the founder of the Boston Iron Kids Club, a program that’s intended to help inner city kids struggling with everything from gang violence to academic issues find the support they need through fitness.

“The program had to have a character component, and you can really teach that through sports,” Ramos says. “I’ve found that through our training, you can really teach these kids about perseverance, discipline, the kinds of attributes they need to succeed in life.”

For Ramos, that mission is personal—she credits a coach she had in seventh grade with giving her the support and motivation she needed to reach college. “My father is in prison, so I haven’t really had him in my life. I’ve really felt that all of my male role models have been my coaches,” she says. “I think you can create positive role models for kids who don’t have them.”

Ramos launched Iron Kids Club this year, and currently coaches between 10 and 20 middle school boys at any given session; the goal is to stay present in the boys’ lives all the way through high school. Right now, the program is running under the umbrella of the 3PointFoundation, an initiative started by Celtics lawyer Neil Jacobs that helps underserved boys succeed through basketball. Ramos is also working to broaden the initiative beyond her own CrossFit box to include gyms from all over the Boston area, and to recruit more kids into the program.

To help spread the word and raise money, Ramos is hosting the third annual Beat the Streets CrossFit competition at the Reggie Lewis Center on October 24. The event will be a classic CrossFit competition for adults, with breakout fitness activities for kids. “It’s a nice way to get the word out, and to build our mission,” Ramos says.

Beat the Streets will be held Saturday, October 24 starting at 8 a.m. 1350 Tremont St., Boston,