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FEATURES ARCHIVE

PROJECT LIFT OFFERS RECREATION, LIFE LESSONS

William Hawkins IV plays football and wrestles, but says weightlifting is his favorite thing to do. The 9-year-old Vance Charter School student knows he likes bringing hardware back to Henderson although he isn't clear on what his trophy tally is up to now. Like 12?" he said. "I don't know. I have a lot. I don't count."His father, William Hawkins III, likes the winning part too, but that's not why he founded Project Lift. Prior to starting the weightlifting program in 1997, Hawkins was introduced to a few kids in his neighborhood that were getting into trouble with regularity. They started coming over to lift weights and he took them to the YMCA to do the same. Hawkins, a Norfolk, Va. native, noticed the positive effect the lifting had on the boys and began asking around about developing a program before eventually securing a grant for equipment. Currently, 26 students participate in Project Lift, ranging in age from 5-18. Many are referred through Vance County Schools, social services or the court system.