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New Program Puts Veterans to Work Teaching Physical Fitness to Youths and Families

Coca-Cola grant funds “Troops for Fitness” program at Rec Centers


Today, the City of Detroit Recreation Department joined Coca-Cola and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to unveil Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness (CCTFF) a new program to help bolster the City’s health and fitness initiatives for youth and families by using the expertise of local veterans.

As part of the Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness program, the Recreation Department will offer workshops and classes instructed by seven military veterans at Butzel Family Center, Heilmann Recreation Center, and Williams Recreation Center.  The veterans will lead exercise programs including Senior Hip Hop Aerobics, Special Needs Population Weight Training, Youth Martial Arts, Senior Latin Dance, and Senior Weight Training.  (See the schedule of classes below.)  The classes are free for those with center memberships.  More centers and classes will be added as additional veterans are hired to lead participants in fitness programs.

“We are very grateful to our partners at Coca-Cola and the NRPA for helping us to provide this opportunity to our veterans,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Giving families access to their knowledge and experience is a great thing for everyone involved and for the community.”

Detroit Recreation Department Director Alicia Bradford said the City is committed to making physical activity programs and nutrition education in Detroit’s neighborhoods a high priority for youth and seniors.

“This program allows us the tremendous opportunity to employ our nation’s veterans and enable them to share their knowledge in health and wellness with our area youth, adults, and seniors,” Bradford said.

Through a $3 million grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation to NRPA, Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness will be rolled out in twelve communities by 2016.  The three-year grant will help the city marshal fitness resources for neighborhoods and provide additional recreation opportunities in city parks.  Detroit will join Los Angeles, Honolulu, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Newark, and Sacramento as the eighth major U.S. metropolitan area to implement Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness.   The City of Detroit Recreation Department will receive $192,500 to administer the program.

“Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness helps support veteran employment and demonstrates how partnering with local communities can have a meaningful impact,” said Matt Barribeau, Coca-Cola Refreshments.  “Thanks to the City of Detroit’s Recreation Department, we are helping to make health and wellness programs accessible to youth, adults, and seniors.”

For information on the Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness schedule, please visit, follow us on, or call (313) 224-1121.

Troops for Fitness Classes

  • Senior Hip Hop Aerobics
    12 p.m. – 2 p.m., Monday and Wednesday
    Butzel Family Center | 7737 Kercheval | 628-2100

  • Special Population Weight Training
    12 p.m. -- 1 p.m., Wednesday and Friday

  • Youth Martial Arts
    4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday
    4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Friday
    Heilmann Recreation Center | 19601 Crusade | 224-9334

  • Senior Latin Dance
    11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Monday and Wednesday

  • Senior Weight Training
    12 p.m. – 2 p.m., Monday and Thursday
    Williams Recreation Center | 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd | 628-2039


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