Urban Perform began because residents in English Avenue asked for a safe place to exercise. By making exercise accessible and affordable, we are fighting obesity in underserved neighborhoods, primarily on the West Side of Atlanta.
2012 – 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. In the summer, we formed a partnership with FCA Inner City Baseball and began providing sports training to the all-star team and eventually all FCA baseball teams. Adding in another component of healthy lifestyles, nutrition classes for the SAY Yes! students. Bootcamp and Indoor Cycling were both added to the Urban Perform class schedule, providing more fitness options for the community. In the winter, the Vine City Vipers Basketball team partnered with Urban Perform for sports training.
2013 – 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 first triathlon!
2014 – 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.
2015 – 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 programing for KIPP WAYS Academy and after school fitness to After-School All-Stars, while the Tri-Kids entered their 5th season.
2016 – 2016 was by far the most challenging, but at the same time, incredibly rewarding year for UP. We began the year by transitioning to a new Executive Director, Ms. Sasha McBurse, who had been working with Urban Perform since our humble beginnings and was instrumental in the development and implementation of our Youth Program. We also hired our first Youth Programs Director, Annie Honore. Through the P.O.W.E.R. UP Youth Program, UP served over 1470 school-aged kids at 8 different locations during 2016. We continued to provide the Physical Movement program at KIPP Ways Primary school as well as provide the fitness component to the After School All Stars program in partnership with Georgia State. In 2016, UP also began talks with the Good Samaritan Health Center to help develop a possible second location to bring fitness across English Ave. to the Bankhead and Grove Park communities. Through this project, we also hired Tom O’Neil, who now serves as our Interim Executive Director. By the end of 2016, however, UP had found itself in a position that our programs had become so successful that they were growing faster than we could imagine. In December 2016, our board voted to suspend our family program at 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.