EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — At Diligence Training in East Hartford, members are greeted with temperature checks, hand sanitizer, and words of affirmation.
CEO and founder, Devonte Dillion said it's because he believes fitness is more than running drills and lifting weights. Instead, he said, it's about tackling health issues that impact the BIPOC community and improve its quality of life in the greater Hartford area.
"We want to make sure that people feel welcome, especially in this day and age," Dillion stressed. "We want to make sure that self-care is present."
Dillion said it was vital that they ditched the big box gym approach for something more personable.
"That way, we can have a culture within our environment, and that way, people are walking away with an experience that you can't get from the typical gym," Dillion explained.
Operations Manager Terrell Huff said the gym is ultimately focused on making an impact.
"It's important to let us all know, we can have a cultivating experience no matter our ethnicity or color, and we can all come together and do something bigger than us," Huff said.
In addition to Diligence Training offering nutrition coaching, group classes, and personal training, there's an emphasis on helping the youth through its partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford.
"We want to have a direct impact with the youth as that's going to be the foundation for the future," Huff added. "We have a direct impact with our community because they now have an internship where they can learn marketing, they can learn accounting, they can learn how to be a trainer and a manager. All the nuances that happen in this business they can now apply it to their life and be prepared before they go to college."
Dillion said he also wants people and children in the community to see people of color succeed.
"We want people to see us continue to grow and allow people to see that people of color can grow organically," Dillion said passionately. "No matter what you put your mind to, whatever it may be, you can grow and do and be anything."
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