Cody Rouge leader Kenyetta Campbell guides community to better health

Model D has featured the work of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance for years. The executive director of the organization, Kenyetta Campbell, is a beloved community leader who has spearheaded the transformation of the far west side neighborhood. 

Over the last two years, Campbell has also transformed her body and life with an incredible 75-pound weight loss. And now she’s launching an exciting new business venture helping others in their journeys toward better health. 

“I have two daughters,” Campbell says of her inspiration for her fitness journey. “And I had got to the point that I was severely overweight; I got up to 265 pounds. It had gotten to the point where I couldn't really do activities with them. And so, that bothered me.” 

Campbell’s weight also led to health challenges like sleep apnea and high blood pressure. 

“It just made life miserable,” she says. She started her weight loss journey by doing the popular Green Smoothie Cleanse. Ever enterprising, as she began to lose weight, she started prepping smoothies for family and friends who were inspired by her health journey. She recently announced the debut of her mobile smoothie business, Smoothie Prep on the Go!

“I started by prepping food for other people,” she says. “And then I started having the weight loss challenges with friends and family, and everything just started to evolve from here.” 

Campbell recently launched Fit 2 Win Detroit—a coaching group primarily for women. 

“I went from having four or five clients to over 150 people that I've been able to impact in the past two and a half years of losing weight. Obese women are my target market. However, I do help everyone from all walks of life. But that's my target market—women. Because a lot of women are able to relate to my journey.” 

Campbell notes that coaching women on a fitness journey is usually deeper than what they eat and drink. “I have a lot of women who come to me who may have been going through relationship problems, and that's kind of how they started overeating.” 

She said that she opens herself up to meet people where they are and find out how she can be of assistance to help them attack life challenges while also helping them lose weight and be healthy. 

“So, I definitely look at it as being a mission that God has me on. I've always been into helping people, but this is really near and dear to my heart, being able to help people be healthy. Not just physically but mentally at home, emotionally, and even financially.”

Fitness has even made her a better community leader. 

The Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance’s mission reads in part to “revitalize and sustain a healthy community where residents have access to and promote a high quality of life.” Campbell said that the “healthy” part of her organization’s mission was a trigger for her. She realized that she was leading a community to be healthier while being physically unhealthy herself. 

“When I first started the journey, our board president and I actually started walking together around the neighborhood,” Campbell says. “As an organization, one of our goals is to make sure that the community is safe and healthy and educated. Well, we needed to lead by example.” Campbell rallied other members of the community to walk with her around the neighborhood before the pandemic. 

During the crisis, Cody Rouge was hard hit by the virus. Several residents died. Campbell and the Alliance mobilized and partnered with other organizations and funders to distribute food baskets and grocery shopping for seniors. 

“God used me to help so many people fight COVID,” she wrote in a recent Facebook post. She also credits her faith for helping her take back her life. Campbell said that she has “crushed” her personal goals through healthy eating and working out. 

Kenyetta Campbell. Photo by David Lewinski.

Cody Rouge recently completed their submission for the City of Detroit Strategic Framework Plan. “Even through the pandemic, we had to finish that,” Campbell says. 

“We just actually had our final planning meeting last week to roll out some of the things that the residents would like to see in the community. So, a lot was going on, even though we had to work remotely. We were still able to be in the trenches.” 

The organization also grew during the crisis from a handful of employees to nearly a dozen people. 

A fitness friendship sparks a fitness partnership 

But even a dynamo like Campbell needs a push sometimes. For the exercise part of her fitness journey, she started walking her community but soon started working with a personal trainer. 

Julius Myers, best known as DJ Jewels Baby, is a Detroit hip-hop legend. Known for spinning tunes around the city and as a music producer, Jewels also ventured into a career as a personal trainer, opening Synergy Works gym more than a decade ago.

Kenyetta Campbell and Julius Myers. Photo by David Lewinski.

Campbell and Myers met last year, and she says he provides the “torture” that has helped her reshape her body. The two recently partnered in business -- she provides meal plans and food coaching, and he provides the workouts. Campbell teaches a hip-hop dance fitness class at his Southfield center and is a frequent face on Myers’s Zoom workout sessions. 

Both Coach Jewels and Coach K, as Campbell is now known around the gym, have the same piece of advice for people at the beginning of their own fitness journeys: “Just start where you can.”

Campbell is hosting a fitness party for her birthday on Sunday, June 13th, in Cody Rouge at Greenview Wadsworth Park. Her smoothie truck will be on-site—text 313-573-9332 for more information. 

Synergy Works and Fit 2 Win are most accessible via social media. Find them on Facebook for more information on fitness classes or to join a weight loss challenge.
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Read more articles by Biba Adams.

Biba Adams is a regular contributor and project editor for Model D. Formally Model D's Editor at Large, she is a longtime journalist whose work is fueled by her passion for people and her native Detroit. Find her on all social channels @BibatheDiva.