A Miami athlete opened a gym for people with special needs (includes video story)

Youth’n Action is an adaptive fitness center catering to help people with special needs. An athlete herself, Miami native Iris Veciana opened the gym five years ago with one mission: to prove to people just how capable those with disabilities can be.

The gym, located at 13397 SW 131st St., offers a variety of services, from occupational and speech therapy to personal and competitive training. Anyone is able to join, including people with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and physical injuries. Even people without special needs can sign up for a membership, with prices starting at $130 a month.

Veciana, 32, said the idea for the gym came to her when she was working as an assistant at another therapy center. She began to incorporate CrossFit workouts into therapy sessions— and the clients loved it.

“My favorite part is to work with the athletes,” she said. “I love coming up with different ways to target the goals they may have, and— even though some days are rough— seeing their progress makes everything worth it.”

Samantha Morell loves to write, draw, take pictures, dance and travel. These are interests she aims to incorporate in her career and lifestyle. She is studying journalism and philosophy at FIU because she believes both subjects make her receptive to new information, as she hopes to always be learning.