Samantha Watkins

Civic Innovation Fellow 2016-2017 // Civic Innovation Resident 2019

Urban Perform



Urban Perform’s mission is to create health conscious changes for families in deserving neighborhoods by making fitness and nutrition accessible and affordable.


Urban Perform, a fitness facility serving the communities of English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park, was founded in 2012 after residents asked for a safe place to exercise. The gym provides a diversity of affordable fitness classes and hosts programming to help individuals break the barriers they face to exercising. Urban Perform also promotes healthy living beyond fitness, fighting to cut the disproportionately high rate of obesity and preventable health conditions in the areas it serves.


Samantha Watkins started out as a gym member at Urban Perform where she experienced a health transformation. She became more involved with the gym and a fierce advocate of health in the Vine City community, and in 2018, she was named executive director at Urban Perform. A chef by profession, Samantha is now a trained fitness instructor. She is also the mother of three children.