Dozens of strong women will compete in a weightlifting competition this weekend. It's also a fundraiser that's empowering women in more ways than one, as NY1's Roger Clark reports.
Shawn Campbell is getting ready for a competition in a sport that she didn't necessarily think she would ever participate in.
"I don't know how this caught on when nothing else did in my adult life," Campbell said. "But there's something about the community and the support you get here that keeps me coming back."
To Crossfit South Brooklyn in Gowanus, which is hosting the second Iron Maidens all female power lifting competition on Saturday. Sixty-five lady lifters will take part in the back squat, bench press and dead lift. Competition Director Margie Lempert is also a starting strength coach at CrossFit.
"One of the things that I kind of found when I started doing Crossfit is that the barbell movements in particular were attractive to me," Lempert said. "That it was really outside anything I had done before. It kind of changed my sense of myself. And it was really an empowering experience to make myself stronger."
So she started working with the woman here on it — leading to in house competitions and now Iron Maidens with some of the area's top lifters stopping in. The participants are also lending a hand raising money for a South Bronx non-profit called Grace Outreach, which empowers women in a different way.
"We work with women who are going to get their high school equivalency degree," said Danae McLeod, the college preparation program director for Grace Outreach. "We have a college program that works with woman to get into college and stay in college. And then we have a career program."
Even many of the sponsors of the competition are women, doing some heavy lifting of their own in the business world.
"Iron Maidens are, it's all about girl power right?" said Jackie Cuscuna, co-owner of Ample Hills Creamery. "So I'm a girl. And I support them."
Including Stella Zawistowski who can bench press 150 pounds.
"Which is about how much I weigh," Zawistowski. "So that's pretty amazing. It is not usual for a woman to have a body weight bench so I am very proud of that."
Saturday's competition runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, just head to the web site.