Up until just two years ago, Joseph Kwon’s life looked very different. At that time, he could only dream from inside his prison cell of the life he lives now,as a UNSW student and founder of fitness startup, ConFit (Convict Fitness).
At the age of 21, Joe was sentenced to 13 years in prison for directing a criminal enterprise. During his time of incarceration, he was fortunate to meet positive mentors who challenged his perception and taught him the value of education and self-worth.
And that's where the idea for ConFit began. Offering prison-style training to the public, the main goal of ConFIT is to create a more accepting society and coach ex-inmates to become, not only great fitness instructors, but leaders who give back to their communities.
ConFit's mission is to break down stereotypes by creating holistic fitness communities. Joe, and his team of trainers, want to help formerly incarcerated inmates to transform their lives while reducing recidivism rates by offering them a positive pathway back into society.
On February 22, ConFit hosted its first ever community event Train To Be Free. Teaming up with Odyssey House and Rise Foundation, the day tested if attendees were ‘prison fit’ through a range of fun fitness challenges and raised money for R U OK? the Australian suicide prevention organisation.
During the event, Joe spoke about the importance for him and his team to give back to their local communities. “At the moment in Australia…one in two inmates will return back to prison within the first two years of release.”
“Our mission is to reduce the recidivism rates through what we know best, which is fitness… We want to provide a support network, and this whole support network starts with community.”
Train To Be Free was attended by members of Bondi Rescue, the Sydney Rabbitohs and councillor Jess Miller from City of Sydney. During, and in the lead up to the event, many formally incarcerated individuals and their family members reached out to show their support.
“[The] event was proof that there is still hope and opportunities for those who want a second chance.” said Joe.
Joe is now on his way to completing his Bachelor of Marketing/Management at UNSW and is currently participating in UNSW Founders Coach & Connect program.