March 16, 2015
This winter, Brooklyn Ice, a nonprofit organization that provides free afterschool figure skating lessons to community youth, returned to Prospect Park after a several year absence with the first full winter season of ice skating at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.
Brooklyn Ice was founded over ten years ago in Prospect Park by Violet Eagan, a longtime figure skating coach, with the mission of making figure skating an accessible sport for underserved youth. The program launched in 2004 with just 12 neighborhood youth, and has grown to support over 60 youth, providing not only skating instruction but also academic tutoring and special workshops on nutrition, college preparation and more.
“Encouraging personal growth through sport and community is our goal,” says Eagan. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to meet new friends outside of their regular school day while improving skate skills and becoming better members of the community.”
Participants in the program are recruited from schools neighboring Prospect Park, and the program brings together a diverse group over the course of several years, enabling youth to form long-term friendships. “My favorite thing about Brooklyn Ice is that it gets you moving,” said Lucero, a fifth grader at PS 10. “Your not just sitting in the house, you are having fun working with people.”
The program will run through March 23, when students will present their skills to the public at the Brooklyn Ice Annual Skating Show at 6 pm at the LeFrak Center. The ice show not only showcases the progress and efforts of the students participating in the program, but features guest performers including Jimmy Ma, a figure skating senior national competitor. Prospect Park Alliance members receive a $5 discount on advance ticket purchases using the code PPA15.
c. Paul Martinka