Read how Figure Skating in Harlem, Inc. won Beyond Sport’s Sport For Education Award.
Figure Skating in Harlem, Inc. has won Beyond Sport’s Sport For Education Award for its innovative ICE program. ICE: I Can Excel after-school program uses figure skating to reach impoverished girls of color in inner city New York and improve their academic performance, physical health, and emotional well-being. Participants develop life skills, receive academic tutoring, and cultivate skating skills.
Figure skating is historically a predominantly white sport, so ICE is groundbreaking in that it targets black and brown girls. Yet, it goes several steps beyond that and also incorporates classes in financial literacy, STEM, and college readiness. Each girl has access to tutors, teachers, social workers, counselors, and skating coaches. The all-encompassing programming sets each girl on a path to good grades and healthy living.
At the same time, the sport itself is being diversified. Often, it only takes one athlete’s success to show that everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion should have access to all sports. Ibtihaj Muhammad’s success in fencing has empowered Muslim girls to pursue the sport. Simone Manual broke barriers in the pool proving to black girls everywhere that swimming is an option for them. ICE is providing access to sport in communities that typically are ignored, not just by the skating community, but by most sports outside of basketball and football.
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