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Figure skating lifts up young girls in Detroit

Figure Skating in Detroit is mentoring program for girls

DETROIT – Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis has built her career on the ice, and she’s been instrumental in bringing Figure Skating in Detroit, a mentoring program for girls, to the city.

The program continues to grow in its third year, and Friday is your chance to see the girls shine on the ice.

Prince boomed across Jack Adams Arena as the young skaters are practicing to perform Friday at Campus Martius. Girls ages 6 to 17 participate after school each week.

“I knew how to roller skate and I wanted to see if I know how to ice skate, so I tried it,” second-grader Alivya said.

“What made me want to join the program is that you will learn everything for figure skating,” second-grader Gabrielle said.

It’s not just the lessons taught on the ice that matter. The after-school program has a strong emphasis on academics, too.

“They will have tutoring, some of them will be doing homeowner, and after that, that is when they break off into their enrichment classes for the evening,” said Patricia Kennebrew, the education director for Figure Skating in Detroit. “Our classes are comprised of STEM -- which is science, technology, engineering and math -- communications, financial literacy, GoFit, leadership and self-advocacy.”

“It’s helped me a lot, especially in math and algebra,” 10th-grader Nala said.

“Our job is to work with these girls, bring them up into beautiful young ladies who are going to go out into the world and one day make a positive difference,” Kennebrew said.

“That is the whole aspect of the program, is to teach girls how to be leaders,” fifth-grader Ty’lynn said.

“It’s made me more insightful on decision-making, so even if something doesn’t work out, I have more options along the way,” Nala said.

Davis said she loves seeing the friendships grow among the young skaters.

“Seeing to camaraderie and development that they are building together is just amazing," Davis said.

The girls will perform Friday at Campus Martius. Skating with the Stars runs from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Money raised will support Figure Skating in Detroit.

Dais will be there, as will Local 4′s Rhonda Walker, Evrod Cassimy, Tati Amare and Jason Carr. The Detroit Youth Choir will also attend.

There will be silent auction items, including four outfits Davis used to perform during her career. Selden Standard donated a dinner with wine pairings at the restaurant for six people to bid on. San Morello, the restaurant at Shinola Hotel, donated a dinner experience for four people.

You can see the dresses below.

Meryl Davis is auctioning off dresses she wore during routines to benefit Figure Skating in Detroit. (WDIV)
Meryl Davis is auctioning off dresses she wore during routines to benefit Figure Skating in Detroit. (WDIV)
Meryl Davis is auctioning off dresses she wore during routines to benefit Figure Skating in Detroit. (WDIV)
Meryl Davis is auctioning off dresses she wore during routines to benefit Figure Skating in Detroit. (WDIV)

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