A few weeks ago I attended the First Annual Fundraiser for Brooklyn Ice, a free after school program in New York City which aims to make figure skating an accessible and affordable sport to children living close to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The kids also take creative writing classes and dance lessons as part of the program. I have a special affinity for the Kate Wollman Skating Rink at Prospect Park - I used to skate there at 8:30 a.m. every day while attending law school years ago. It's a great picturesque outdoor rink next to the lake and now there are plans to completely replace the rink with a new, year-round facility, known as the Lakeside Center recreation facility.
Violet Eagan founded Brooklyn Ice approximately four years ago, after working at Figure Skating in Harlem, a program that also combines skating with academics. She's working hard to alert the community to this organization and enlisted the help of 1994 Olympic champion Oksana Baiul (see right) and Amy Hughes (mother of Sarah Hughes, 2002 Olympic champion and Emily Hughes, national competitor) at the fundraiser. Amy gave a wonderful speech about the importance of sports in children's lives and Oksana spoke to me about the role figure skating played in her life, given that she didn't have her immediate family around her growing up. In all, a great night for the attendees and I will check back with them as the season progresses!
(Photo below, Brooklyn Ice Holiday Ice Show & Party 2008. From left to right, Marni Halasa, Violet Eagan, Jamie Coffey Reynolds, Oksana Baiul and Valery Levine. Marni, Jamie and Valery performed for the crowd.)