ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – For most of us, letting our children play outside isn’t a life-or-death situation. But for young people in some city neighborhoods, it is.

Lift for Life Gym in north St. Louis is not only a gym, but a safe place where kids can go in a neighborhood rocked with violence.

Antwon Kilbert says Lift for Life Gym helped him lose weight and give him the confidence to try breaking American weightlifting records.

“Just walk down the street, somebody probably getting beat up or something. But when I go in the gym, it’s closed doors so nobody can get in, nobody can get out. They watch you…it’s just people that protect you,” he says.

Executive director Joe Miller says the gym offers kids an Olympic-style weightlifting program with telling results. The gym has produced 38 national youth weightlifting champions who compete locally, regionally and nationally. He believes there is a future Olympian in the works.

“Some of our kids are working so hard,” Miller says. “That’s their goal, they want to be a future Olympian. They want to earn gold medals, they want to make their parents proud, the gym proud, they’re working hard to get a college scholarship.”

The gym also serves nutritious dinners to the kids year-round, safe rides home, mentoring and life skill lessons – all for free.

Saturday night, Lift for life Gym held a gala to raise money for its programs and honor UPS and the Rotary Club of St. Louis for their support and volunteers.

TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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