growing. This has to do with diet
and exercise. Urban gardens have
been a vital resource to low-income
neighborhoods where residents live
in food deserts. But it’s not enough
to just fight obesity with food.
We must also increase
opportunities to exercise.
In Georgia, only 1 in 5 adults
meet the guidelines for aerobic
and strength exercise.
Georgia ranks 12th in the nation for diabetes and 17th for hypertension. The risk of both health issues is significantly increased with obesity.
31.6% of adults in Georgia are obese, with the black community reaching obesity rates of 37.1%,
much higher than any other other group.
We have a solution
Urban Perform (UP) is a non-profit organization making exercise
accessible and affordable to the deserving communities of
English Avenue, Vine City and Washington Park in Atlanta.
Fitness Centers in Atlanta
In English Avenue, Vine City and Washington Park,
Urban Perform is the only full service fitness center.
We are striving to remove all “fitness deserts” by remodeling abandoned spaces in
low-resourced communities, where obesity and obesity-related illnesses are rampant.
We operate with a flat rate pricing system.
Everyone under the age of 18 is free.
Urban Perform started by offering fitness classes to the students at the New Life SAY Yes! Center after school program. We quickly added Zumba classes for women in our neighborhood, formed a partnership with FCA Inner City Baseball, and began providing sports training to the all-star team and eventually all FCA baseball teams. We added another component of healthy lifestyles, nutrition classes, for the SAY Yes! students. More fitness classes were added to our schedule with Bootcamp and Cycle classes. In the winter, the Vine City Vipers Basketball team partnered with Urban Perform for sports training.
Urban Perform’s wellness reach expanded with Yoga classes and Fitness Assessments for the community. In the summer we offered a half-day exercise and nutrition camp to rising 4th-10th graders who live in zip codes 30318
and 30314. A great partnership with Odyssey Villas, permanent transitional housing for formerly homeless families, started in August, to provide an exercise and nutrition after school program for kids living there. Urban Perform’s partnership with Tri-Kids also took true action in August with six students who trained and competed in their very
We received a 3-year renewable grant from the Arthur M. Blank Foundation providing us with funding to move into our very own building at 678 Joseph E Boone Blvd. NW Atlanta, GA 30314. At this new location, we are open six days per week and offer 11 fitness classes per week. In the spring our Tri-Kids completed two triathlons and we continued our partnership with Odyssey Villas. Over the summer we served the Redeemer Community Church and Bellwood Boys and Girls Club. Through a partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, fresh fruits and vegetables came to Urban Perform in the summer and fall at a weekly Farmer’s Market. Urban Perform rounded out the year with national recognition from Self Magazine, honoring our founder as one of Self’s Women Doing Good.
In February, we hosted our first 5K, inviting people from all over Atlanta to join us in a run through the West side of Atlanta. The summer months were full of new excitement at Urban Perform. The weekly Farmer’s Market returned and a basketball hoop was installed in the back lot, providing endless hours of fun for youth and adults. The POWER UP youth program grew with mobile programs at four After-School All-Stars sites. Continuing into the school year, POWER UP provided PE and after-school programming for KIPP WAYS Academy and After-School All-Stars, while the Tri-Kids entered their 5th season.
While 2016 the most challenging year for Urban Perform, it was also incredibly rewarding. Through the P.O.W.E.R. UP Youth Program and a partnership with Georgia State, UP served over 1470 school-aged kids at 8 different locations during 2016. By the end of 2016, however, UP had found itself in a position that our programs were growing faster than we could imagine, which created trouble in keeping up. In December 2016, our board voted to suspend our family program and close the Vine City gym location, focusing our efforts on our Youth Programs.
While the closing of the Vine City gym space has been unbelievably difficult, our neighbors and community members responded beautifully. They formed action groups, wrote letters, and did everything in their power to help us, demonstrating how instrumental fitness had become in their lives. Upon hearing of the gym closure, one of our members remarked, “that’s okay, but I’ve come too far to stop just because the building’s closing, I’m gonna find another way.” We are committed to Westside Atlanta and will continue to think creatively on how to make exercise and nutrition accessible and affordable to our neighbors. While we do not know what the future holds for Urban Perform, we are thankful for the past 5 years. We care deeply about our members and this community. We hope to find new ways for exercise to be part of their lives.
At the beginning of 2017, after closing our Vine City location, we were offered the beautiful opportunity to move into a neighboring church and continue offering fitness classes. Since the beginning of the year, led by four community members, UP offered 8 fitness classes per week. It was during this year that Urban Perform turned into a truly community-led gym. We are now proud to be run by four women and community members, who work to continue providing exercise to our neighborhood.