By Sam Bojarski

Fitness gyms might be one of the last businesses to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many people struggling to find the motivation for a workout. 

But the Brooklyn-based Haitian-American Community Coalition (HCC) has addressed that problem, with virtual programming designed to keep residents of New York and beyond fit during the pandemic. 

“I think the entire fitness community has pretty much shifted to virtual classes, and having those virtual classes set weekly definitely helps people incorporate that into their schedule. They have something to look forward to,” said Kristina Lewis, fitness instructor who teaches classes part-time for HCC’s FITBK program. 

Prior to the pandemic, HCC held fitness classes at churches and various other community centers throughout Brooklyn. With the limits on in-person gatherings and shutdown orders, these classes have gone virtual, often reaching hundreds of participants each week. To support FITBK’s programming, Brooklyn Communities Collaborative has awarded HCC a $50,000 grant, through its Strong Communities Fund. 

Fitness instructor Kristina Lewis leads a FITBK virtual fitness class on July 14. Photo by Leonardo March

The FITBK program, which HCC has offered for seven years, is technically free. But the program typically depends on donations from participants. 


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Sam Bojarski

Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America fellow. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and...