Home Local News Project Live Well helps African American women live their healthiest lives

Project Live Well helps African American women live their healthiest lives


The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness has launched the third year of its Project Live Well, an invigorating year-round series of fitness, nutrition and healthy living classes designed to elevate Black women’s health and wellness. Participants will be able to track their progress as they work to reach their personal wellness goals.

Classes are led by trained instructors and participants in a community of like-minded women and accountability partners. Lisa Peyton-Caire, founder, CEO and president of the Foundation, hopes that more and more women utilize the free resources from Project Live Well and develop permanent routines and goals towards improving their health and wellness.

“Project Live Well is a central part of our health promotion and education that we offer year-round for the women we serve,” Peyton-Caire told Madison365. “This is the third year that we’re offering Project Live Well as a major initiative. But, of course, it’s an extension of our health promotion and education work that we’ve been doing now for a decade in Dane County.

Peyton-Caire said that about two years ago, the foundation packaged its fitness, nutrition, and holistic wellness programming under the umbrella of Project Live Well “so that women can take part in a more structured experience.”

 “Our classes run on a regular basis throughout the year to help women develop a rhythm, and to keep them committed to a solid wellness journey,” she said. “One of our main focuses of Project Live Well is to achieve exactly what the name says, which is to support women in living their healthiest, most-well lives and to help them build a culture of wellness by providing them the opportunities to develop a wellness practice at home that they can adhere to. Our hope is that it becomes a lifestyle for them to be in the habit of knowing how to incorporate healthy movement, healthy eating, and healthy behaviors in their day-to-day lives.”

Yoga class at Foundation For Black Women’s Wellness’s Project Live Well (Photo supplied)

Project Live Well contains themes and courses focusing on nutrition, yoga, mindful stretching, and cardio. Classes are offered throughout the year and taught by different instructors who regularly lead them. The Foundation has enhanced the experience this year by adding an online wellness community and mobile app that participants can join to access all classes easily, and to connect with staff, instructors and other women for added support and motivation.

“This programming really introduces women to things they may have never tried before,” said Peyton-Caire. “For example, we offer yoga, and there are various forms of yoga. And it’s not just doing the exercise, but it’s also learning the philosophy, health benefits and origins of these practices. Women who have never tried it before have become real fans and practitioners of yoga. They’ve learned that there are major benefits to meditation and mindfulness.

“We also have fun and active exercises at low, moderate, and high impact. We adapt everything to our intergenerational audience of women who represent many different ages,” she added. “We make our offerings adaptable to anyone, wherever they’re beginning at their current level of fitness. They can enter this programming as they are and find their place in it, as well as find other women who, in so many cases, become inspiration partners, accountability partners, and it’s really beautiful to see it grow.”

There are a plethora of different instructors for the wellness classes including Irene Katana and Keena Atkinson. Katana is a Project Live Well yoga instructor who now has a flourishing practice. The Foundation supported her in pursuing and securing her yoga certification. Atkinson is a certified yoga and WERQ instructor who has taught for FFBWW for several years, and whose mother, Gaylene, has now joined as a certified Body Groove Instructor. Peyton-Caire says she and the team intentionally sought out and supported Black women wellness instructors for Project Live Well.

“We’re really proud that we are able to feature Black women wellness practitioners and health professionals,” said Peyton-Caire. “All of our instructors are Black women who have started their own practices. Many of them have been with us for several years now and we’ve seen the evolution of their work as women who may have participated in our programming or been a part of our organization in other capacities. There’s really this conscientious effort on our part to support women not only in taking part in our programming, but in becoming the providers and practitioners we work with to deliver our programming.”

Peyton-Caire and the FFBWW team would like to thank the funders and sponsors whose support makes Project Live Well possible including UW-Health, Madison Gas & Electric, Unity Point Health-Meriter, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin and the Pearl Milling Company.

To sign up and learn more information about Project Live Well, click here.