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The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation Offers Free and Low-Cost Classes to Detroit-Area Youth

After 20 years in Harlem, Detroit Native Wendy Hilliard discusses the local program.

The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation combines tumbling with tenacity.

"We're really teaching the discipline of the sport and the structure of taking care of your body," says Wendy Hilliard of the youth classes she offers at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in Detroit. Hilliard is a Detroit native – and the first black gymnast to compete on the U.S. Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team.

Hilliard founded WHGF in 1996 in Harlem, offering free and low-cost gymnastics lessons for urban kids. The foundation recently set up a similar operation in Detroit and plans, in the next few years, to expand to a dedicated gymnastics center.

"I'm really proud to bring it back to Detroit," Hilliard says. "We had a legacy of great gymnastics with the recreation department in the 1980s and early '90s, and I'm sure we'll be able to recreate that again."

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