“Books can create a world for you that you never thought was possible. If you told me 13 years ago that I’d be a humanitarian and a CEO, I would have looked at you and laughed. I thought I’d be in the hood forever. Books changed my life.”
Every day, Ms. Wallace scheduled independent reading time at the beginning of class. And every day, Goldin sat there fidgeting and staring into space.
One day, she’d finally had it. She told Goldin to get a book from the class library, but he said he didn’t like any of them. So Ms. Wallace reached into her bag and handed Goldin hers: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
“I was hooked,” says Goldin. “I couldn’t put it down—to the point where when reading time was over, I snuck it under my desk to keep reading, and Ms. Wallace let me.
“After class, she told me I could keep the book. If she’d taken it back, I don’t know what I would have done. We never went to the library and couldn’t afford to buy books. I’m so grateful to her because that book was the turning point in my life.”
Goldin became a voracious reader—each new book leaving him more motivated and inspired to take control of his life.
Personal training can be lucrative for pros like Goldin, and he could have just glided by on his new salary. But Goldin never lost that drive to give back and help others—he wasn’t satisfied with only helping people who could afford it.
In 2009, Goldin launched a personal training initiative for kids at his local community center. He called the program Get Focused.
The first day, only one kid named Jorge showed up—after stumbling into the wrong room. Goldin convinced Jorge to stay, and he kept coming back. By week 6, he had stopped smoking and ditching school. Jorge’s friends took notice and joined the training sessions, too. By the third month, Goldin had a thriving sports club of 150 kids.
Over the next several years, Goldin evolved Get Focused to a city-wide initiative—organizing fitness days for the community and developing programs for organizations across New York City.
But in 2015, Goldin got that feeling again. He wanted to do more.
“I wanted to do something that would combine all my passions together: fitness, literacy, and community service. I thought about the times in my life when I couldn’t even afford $5 for a book. That’s when it hit me… Wouldn’t it be cool if you could open a book and instead the price tag said, ‘5 pushups, 5 jumping jacks, and a sit-up?’”