Check out last year’s photos!
UPlifting Health. UPholding Communities.
We hope to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. We will do this through fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running and will build character!
July, 2014 Atlanta Magazine Feature
From the road, the old gas station didn’t stand out much from its neighbors—a boarded-up brick two-story building and a green-awninged bodega—on this stretch of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard just west of the Georgia Dome.
But now, a bright new mural with a crouching pink tiger hints that something powerful is going on inside. The space is home to Urban Perform, a nonprofit that since January of 2012 has brought exercise classes and equipment to the English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park neighborhoods, an area with few city parks and only one other fitness facility within walking distance.
Just as Atlanta is home to many food deserts—poor areas more than a mile from the nearest supermarket—the city also lacks fitness facilities in some of its most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. “There are ‘gym deserts’ too,” says Laura Pritchard, the twenty-seven-year-old fitness trainer who founded Urban Perform. “When you’re looking at combating obesity in kids and adults, food and fitness go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other and expect to succeed.”
Through our community partnership with Grow Montessori School, we are hosting a Family Fitness Series!
Saturday, July 26 – Disco Zumba
Saturday, August 23 – Water Works
Saturday, October 25 – Monster MashUP
Saturday, November 22 – Turkey Trot
Each event starts at 12pm and will consist of a fun workout for the whole family!
All children must be accompanied by an adult. $2 per adult (If it’s your first visit you are FREE!). Kids are FREE.
Great prizes and giveaways will be included!
Urban Perform is one of the beneficiaries of the classic Atlanta Labor Day weekend race, The ATL 20K Relay and 10K!
Gather some friends and run in the 20K Relay (4 person team each completing a 5K leg or 2 person team each completing a 10K leg). You can also participate in the road race solo as a 10K or 20K runner or walker!
The race is Saturday, August 30th at 7:00 am in Castleberry Hills. All runners and walkers are welcome!
When you register, under “How you heard about this event” choose Urban Perform and we will receive an extra percentage of your race registration!
A very special thanks to Nathan Tavel and Taylor Means for the beautiful mural they designed and created on our new building. We are so grateful for all their hard work. They did a fantastic job with our building! We have heard many positive comments from community members about the mural. Coming up later this summer, youth in the community will have an opportunity to design and paint on the side wall of the building. On August 23rd, one of our GrowUPStrong family fitness days, all community members are invited to come help Nathan put the finishing touches on the side wall.
Check out Nathan’s other work! We highly recommend him!
Phone: 404 200 7453
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 24, 2014
By Gracie Bonds Staples – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Hyosub Shin as the photojournalist
Outside a renovated gas station at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, a half dozen women run through 45-second intervals of cardio exercises.
They run. They jump. They shore up their core for a full body workout.
Stephanie Tyson, 28, is hoping she can shed 85 pounds.
Losing weight would be a plus, but more than anything, Damaris Henderson, a 40-something HIV prevention specialist and counselor, just wants to get healthy.
Either way, the women say Urban Perform is the best thing that has come to this tired old neighborhood in a long while and if it means improving their health and general appearance, even better.
Laura Pritchard-Compton (foreground), executive director of Urban Perform, leads an outdoors fitness class at the new gym in Vine City.
The gym, which moved to Vine City in March from a nearby warehouse, is part of what seems to be a growing trend of nonprofits targeting residents in so-called food deserts, where there’s not only little access to fresh, healthy and affordable food but virtually no safe or affordable exercise venues.
UP caters primarily to Vine City, English Avenue and Washington Park, majority African-American communities with high rates of obesity, hypertension and diabetes. With a three-year, $90,000 grant the gym received recently from the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, residents are hopeful those troubling health statistics will soon drop
“These Westside neighborhoods are beset by a myriad of challenges, including high crime, unemployment and poverty, that prevent residents from eating healthy or getting proper exercise,” said Frank Fernandez, vice president of community development at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, which has committed some $15 million to projects it hopes will improve the quality of life for Westside residents. “In addition to living in a food desert, they also live in a fitness desert.”
UP, Fernandez said, is one of several ways the foundation hopes to transform the area into an oasis of healthy choices. As part of this mix, UP offers nutrition classes for kids and will host a farmers market this summer.
According to Laura Pritchard-Compton, founder and executive director of Urban Perform, residents had been asking for a safe place to exercise when she was approached by a local pastor to turn a church warehouse into a gym for the community’s youths.
That was in May 2011.
Pritchard-Compton, who holds degrees in religious studies, kinesiology and exercise physiology from the University of Virginia, lives in nearby Washington Park.
In January 2012, she opened a gym in the church warehouse, focused primarily on the community’s youth. Within a year, adults were wanting in, too. Urban Perform expanded to offer $2 group fitness classes for the entire family.
“The first two years, we served about 100 kids and families,” Pritchard-Compton said. “Now after three months here, we’ve served 300-plus kids and families.”
What makes the gym unique, she said, is the hourlong classes are offered six days a week at a flat $2 rate rather than on a sliding income scale like those offered at the YMCA. Residents can take the first class free of charge. For $15 a month, they get unlimited access to classes or pay $22 a month for access to both the gym and classes.
Tyson, who has lived in Vine City with her daughter Yannis for three years, said she discovered UP one morning while en route to her daughter’s school, then one evening noticed a class was in session.
“I said that’s where I need to be,” she said.
Once the 28-year-old single mom stopped in for more information, Tyson said she was out of excuses.
“The classes were inexpensive and so motivational,” she said. “It made you feel good.”
Tyson had tried working out at a larger facility, but the fees, she said, were like “paying a car note.”
Both she and Henderson have in some ways become unofficial recruiters for UP, encouraging siblings and co-workers to join them.
Tyson regularly works out with her daughter and a sister and brother now.
“I want to set a good example for my daughter,” she said.
Henderson credits her niece with getting her off the coach and into the gym.
“I saw how motivated she was to come,” she said. “Then when I came for the grand opening, I realized the benefit to the community.”
Henderson said that coming to the small gym has been far less intimidating than going to a larger, more expensive facility.
“I didn’t want to pay an expensive gym fee, and I didn’t want to be in a large gym with a lot of skinny people,” she said.
Although she lives in East Point, Henderson said she works in the community. Her decision to join UP, she said, hinged not on looking good but getting healthy.
“I’m not even thinking about weight,” she said. “I have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and my knees hurt, so I want to address my health issues more than anything. If I lose the weight, God bless America, but I’m tired of that fight.”
Pritchard-Compton said making a difference in the community will mean addressing both the residents’ diets and ability to exercise.
“Neither one will work by itself,” she said.
Monday June 30th –Friday August 8th
TRANSFORM INTO A HEALTHIER YOU IN 6 Weeks
Take your Fitness to the NEXT LEVEL:
Lose Weight – Tone Muscles – Gain Endurance
Activities Include: 3 assessments, class attendance minimum, open gym workouts, food log, health 101, prize incentives, personal coaching, classes and more!
MEMBER RATES - $20
NON- MEMBER RATES - $45
Sign up with a friend and receive $5 off per person
Register Monday through Saturday at
Urban Perform – 678 joseph e. boone Blvd nw
phone: 678-341-0393 email: email@example.com
Please join us every Saturday from 9am-1pm! The produce will be fresh, local and reasonably priced for our community. Snap Benefits will be 2 for 1!!
After 8 weeks of dedicated training our athletes successfully completed two triathlons! Twelve of our athletes competed for the very first time. We could not be more proud and grateful. The athletes would not have this opportunity if we did not have amazing volunteer coaches, donations and your support! This program is made possible through our partnership with Tri-Kids Inc.
If you believe in this program and our other work, please consider becoming a Sustaining UP Member for as little as $21 per month.
Copyright © 2014