Carrie chats with master’s runner Maurelhena Walles as part of the UCAN Stay in the Game Longer Series! They chat growing up in Harlem, competing at Alabama A&M, setting world records at the master’s level, starting Equity Design (which uses physical activity to change the health of Bronx youth), and so much more!
Recorded July 2021
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United States, winning gold in the 60 meters in Korea at the World Masters Athletics Championship and 4x400m relay World Age Group Record Holder, dictated her professional journey of creating healthier lives for underserved communities through physical activity.
Maurelhena graduated with honors from each of the institutions she attended. She holds an Advanced Certificate from NYU in Education Communication and Technology as well as an MFA in Television Production from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Political Science from Alabama A&M University. She also has her certification in personal training, youth development as well as program design and training special populations.
As the former Executive Director of Fit 4 Life NYC, along with staff that overwhelmingly represented the communities they served, she embarked on the mission of making NYC’s underserved communities healthy, through fitness. She designed programming that dispelled the notion that fitness was not fitness if you were not sweating or didn’t experience pain. Instead, she camouflaged fitness with activities that engaged participants, creating active environments for over 7,000 youth and adults. The result was a profitable B Corporation with a value for service structure and workforce development model that earned the organization the Best For NYC and Best For The World awards.
The acquisition of Fit 4 Life NYC didn’t stop Maurelhena from serving her community. Instead she rewrote her narrative and founded Equity Design, a start-up social enterprise that brings equity to underserved communities, through sustainable physical activity programming that will help increase their life expectancy while creating a long-lasting and healthy connection to physical activity. Her first plan of action is to focus on the Bronx, NY, one of the unhealthiest counties in the state of NY.
As the Founder and CEO of Equity Design, she uses her expertise in instructional design to design physical activity programs that address the specific health needs of underserved communities. She believes that good results are worth the time it takes to plan them.