All around the world, people love to start off the New Year with a new health regime. Our community members aren’t any different. The first weeks of January marked the kick off of Keystone–a men’s exercise class that has taken the CRP center by storm. The class combines calisthenics such as push-ups, sit-ups and other exercises with confidence- and community-building exercises.
Kamal, Keystone coach, designed the program with the hope of kick starting healthy habits among CRP’s male community members. “Regular exercise helps the men release stress and hopefully sleep better in this foreign place,” Kamel states, and mentions that he has already noticed positive difference in participants’ attitudes. “They are laughing and smiling more and more and their physical strength has greatly improved,” he says.
Kamal trains many exercise groups around Amman, but he says that CRP’s group is his favorite. “Nowhere else do you find such enthusiastic, light-hearted people. They make me proud every day,” he says. The positive atmosphere that Coach Kamal creates has been a big factor in attracting community members of all ages and backgrounds.
“Keystone has helped me to make so many friends in my new community. I have learned that nationality makes no difference. We are all human. We all love and laugh, ” says Sami, an Iraqi young man eager to express how happy he is to be participating in Keystone. On the other side of the age spectrum, 57-year-old Ghazwan mentions that although he has suffered from terrible back pain, the training has helped his pain to get “ninety to one hundred percent better.”
Exercise and community are important for any happy, healthy individual, but it can really make a difference when life as you know it has been completely shattered. Saleem, a middle-aged Syrian man, expresses that “after all the crisis and despair in my country, finding CRP’s Keystone class has really helped me start to think positively about life again.”
The men get together twice a week for an hour of sweat and smiles and to forget about all the worries on their minds. Like anyone, they yearn to return to the stability and dignity of a normal life. CRP’s Keystone class is just one of the many steps they are taking in that direction. As Adnan puts it, “the CRP community helps me to stop thinking that I am only a refugee.”