Making a Difference

As you know, skating is an expensive sport - ice time comes at a premium as a rink is expensive to run and maintain, instruction from experienced coaches is costly, good quality equipment is essential to preventing injuries, and the costs of music, costumes, and travel all add up. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in skating and want to impart my knowledge to not only new skaters and parents, but also to those who already skate and need additional support and resources. I enjoy dedicating my time to volunteering as it provides fulfillment from sharing my knowledge and allows me to inspire a new generation of skaters. I also get to meet and make friends with so many interesting people from different cultures and backgrounds. Through my teaching, I strive to provide my students encouragement, motivation, and emotional support, empowering them to develop their courage and self-confidence.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be volunteering at Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) this summer. FSH offers a 6-week Summer Dreams Camp starting July 8 through August 15. Now that I can finally drive, I will be able to volunteer and help teach the Learn-to-Skate program to young girls at the Ice Hutch rink in Mt Vernon, NY. My grandmother lives nearby so I get to visit her afterwards.

I first heard about FSH when I came across a video clip posted by On Ice Perspectives on the Learn-to-Skate USA Facebook page early this year. It was a show performed by some FSH members and I was intrigued to learn more about them. Similar to my involvement with Girl Scouts, FSH fosters a sisterhood by providing opportunities for young women to work and learn together, building their self-esteem and confidence. These girls are taught the necessary skills to help them achieve their dreams and become future leaders. FSH has grown to become a girls’ empowerment organization.

Yesterday was my first day at FSH and I plan to volunteer every Thursday during the summer. There were over 85 young girls who were all so eager to get started on the ice and learn new things. Coaches assisted and ensured that each girl had properly tied skates, a zipped coat, and were not wearing any fanny packs or loose accessories. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all of the girls already had some basic skating knowledge as they skated over to me with ease. My group of 11 girls and I practiced forward crossovers, snowplow stops, lunges, and one foot glides. We also incorporated all these elements into a fun and interactive on-ice game and gave them free time in the end.

FSH was founded in 1997 by Sharon Cohen who wanted to provide a skating education program for young women of Harlem. She wanted to offer a fun and safe environment for these girls to come together after school and further learn and work together. This non-profit organization offers after school academic enrichment and support along with group fitness classes and skating instruction which align with the USFS Learn to Skate USA program.

I look forward to making many new friends and a difference in these young girls’ lives.