Local Soccer Star Pilots Fitness Program for National CORE Residents

It is Monday afternoon at the affordable housing community of Promenade in West Covina and a group of residents has gathered, waiting in anticipation for their weekly fitness class. Uzi Tayou, a professional soccer player for the Empire Strykers, is setting up for the day’s activities…

Tayou has become a familiar face at Promenade, Veterans Park in Pomona, Mountainside, and Monterey Village, both in Rancho Cucamonga. As a professional athlete, Tayou has spent decades devoted to health and fitness. A couple of months ago, he came to the Hope through Housing Foundation, offering to bring his expertise to National CORE residents.

The program, “Do Fitness! with Uzi” has been successfully piloted at several National CORE properties, with plans to expand in the future. In the beginning, it was Tayou’s goal to run his hour-long program during the onsite afterschool program. “I wanted to give the kids something to do, something to look forward to after school,” commented Uzi. “Sports gave me focus as a kid, and I wanted to pass that on to others.” But Uzi soon realized that the parents of the children in the program wanted to participate too.

“I found that many of the parents and older residents had back injuries and disabilities. They were unable to drive, but they wanted to lose weight and go to the gym, but they couldn’t,” commented Uzi. “So, I brought the gym to them and hopefully inspired them to continue working on their fitness beyond the classes they attend with me.” Tayou may be having a lasting impact. The residents of Promenade who train with Tayou have begun walking as a group on days Tayou is not on the property.

“I know our residents have loved having Uzi at their properties. He genuinely cares about the residents, and it shows,” said Hope through Housing President Greg Bradbard. To show their appreciation, Tayou received thank you notes from his participants, with comments such as “Thank you for showing interest in CJ and being patient with him, it really makes a difference in his ability and confidence” and “Thank you for your knowledge in fitness. And all of your generous time. You have been a good coach.”

The Empire Strykers (management and team) have been a great community partner, offering free soccer camps for children living in National CORE communities, providing fundraising opportunities on game days for Hope through Housing, and supporting our efforts in the region. It was great to see our residents come out to the Mexico vs. USA game at the Toyota Arena on September 17th to cheer on Uzi and Team USA.

National CORE in partnership with the Empire Strykers will be offering free tickets to children 18 and under for the Strykers opening game on December 1. More information to come.

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