By Audrina Bigos


CHICAGO (CBS) — Five women – including three doctors, a nutritionist, and a Romanian gymnast – made it their mission to bring gymnastics to a community they say desperately needs it.

They say they saw a void and did what they could to fill it, opening Southland Gymnastics Academy.

“We’re at SGA Gymnastics Academy,” said one enthusiastic, young gymnast.

CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports the women’s vision has come true, as the new gym in South suburban Posen opened its doors.

The athletes are coached by Mihaela Angel, a former member of Romania’s National Gymnastics Team.

“We try to bring our different level of coaching into this community,” said Coach Mihaela, “[and] offer quality for affordable prices.”

Coach Mihaela runs the new facility with four other women, three are doctors and a dietician, all with the same mission.

“It is an underserved area. We want to make sure this community has opportunities that other communities have who may have more,” stated co-owner Laverne Barnes.

Dr. Shana Sewell, another co-owner of the new facility, agreed, saying their mission includes, “Being able to teach kids that usually don’t have these type of experiences available to them.”

With the support of their husbands, the women are going beyond their 9 to 5 jobs to make sure the girls are competitive in the sport and in life.

“We’re trying to bring the best in these kids, trying to help them achieve their dreams and go as far as they can,” said Coach Mihaela.

Barnes says they always encourage the girls, telling them, “You can do it! Even though it’s hard, you got this!”

The gymnastics facility has only been open for one week and already has 40 athletes training.

The academy is also adding a wellness component so the community has access to nutritional counseling.

For more information about the new gymnastics facility, visit southlandgymnastics.com.