Detroit native & Hall of Fame gymnast Wendy Hilliard grows gymnastics foundation in Detroit

Hall of Fame gymnast and Detroit native Wendy Hilliard is expanding her gymnastics foundation to a newly renovated recreation center in southwest Detroit.

The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, which provides free and low-cost quality gymnastics programming for urban youth, is now offering weekly classes through Kemeny Recreation Center, according to a news release.

Hilliard founded her New York City-based nonprofit in 1996 and brought it to Detroit in 2016 with weekly classes at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse.  Since then, she’s expanded the nonprofit’s reach in Detroit to after-school classes for more than 200 students per week.

City-sponsored GOAL Line Detroit and nonprofit Boll Family YMCA in Detroit are providing assistance with transportation. Troy-based foam products manufacturer Envirolite and Shepherd-based gymnastics company Tumbl Trak are providing equipment.

Hilliard’s connections to Detroit are strong, and her passion or helping urban youth was inspired by her mother and role model Gwen Hilliard. Gwen Hilliard was a Detroit Public Schools administrator who was instrumental in creating the Detroit Metro Gymnasts program, which bred world champions and Olympians.

Gwen Hilliard died Dec. 10, 2018, and will be honored with a posthumous proclamation from Detroit City Council at a memorial service on Feb. 9.

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