From Balance Beam To A Well-Balanced Diet, Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics More Than Sport

It’s not just about the balance beams for the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation (WHGF), it’s also about the bites.  WHGF, a nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost quality gymnastics programs for urban youth, is adapting to meet the needs of its students this summer by teaming up with community partners to expand its camp offerings to include a variety of programs that enhance students’ general wellbeing.  Throughout its 23 years of existence in Harlem, WHGF has attracted more and more youth from Washington Heights, the Bronx and beyond, as a preeminent organization unlike any other program the City has to offer.

In an effort to educate its participants beyond just the sport of gymnastics, WHGF camp will offer workshops in partnership with Hospital for Special Surgery’s (HSS) Super Nutrition Education for All Kids to Eat Right (SNEAKER©) and Sports Safety. Educators of the HSS Sports Safety team will be on-site to teach athletes motor learning and how to reduce the risk of injury. Above and beyond the WHGF camp policy of bringing a healthy lunch, HSS Clinical Nutritionists will educate students on the importance of athletic nutrition by leading interactive workshops.

With more than a quarter of the WHGF student population hailing from the Bronx, WHGF has partnered with Bronx Bound Books, a unique mobile bookstore on wheels, which travels throughout neighborhoods to bring literature to people of all ages. Bronx-native Latanya DeVaughn, founder of Bronx Bound Books, will host workshops on poetry and reading during WHGF summer camp encouraging children, teenagers, and parents to read.  With the support and generosity of local attractions such as the world-class new spy museum SPYSCAPE, as well as Hornblower Sightseeing Cruises, which tour participants around NYC’s most iconic waterfront sights, WHGF participants will have the chance to see more of New York City during camp hours.

“Gymnastics is more than just a sport, it’s fitness, which is a discipline and way of life. I’m thrilled to welcome community partners to the WHGF to demonstrate this message and encourage our athletes to become overall better students,” said Hilliard. “Education and worldliness are part of the discipline, students know if they work hard, they make it to competition and are able to travel and see other parts of New York and beyond. I’m passionate about broadening my students’ horizons through sport and academics and greatly appreciate the support of the community.”

Related: Harlem’s Wendy Hilliard talks commitment on The Danny Tisdale Show

WHGF camp will run for six weeks beginning Monday, July 8 for ages 7 to 17 at the historic Harlem Armory, which is managed by the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ).  The HCZ partners with the WHGF to provide gymnastics programs to their students as well as the community throughout the year.  For more information on the WHGF, or to sign-up for summer camp, please visit: www.wendyhilliard.org

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