57ºF

Meryl Davis helps young girls succeed through Figure Skating in Detroit

Figure Skating in Detroit empowers girls to reach goals

DETROIT – Figure Skating in Detroit is the first expansion of Figure Skating in Harlem, a program that's been succeeding for 20 years. In both programs, figure skating is paired with education, empowering girls to achieve their goals on and off the ice.

Young girls enjoyed a lesson in figure skating from Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis. Figure Skating in Detroit is a unique program for girls of color ages 6-15.

"It's really a young development program in this scenario -- developing girls, building into their confidence and really helping to create leaders," Davis said.

Click here to donate to the Figure Skating in Detroit GoFundMe page.

The skating is just one component. The program combines academics and life lessons that prepare the girls for a bright future.

"This is something that really builds girls' confidence and self-esteem, so that's important no matter what avenue they decide to go in life," Davis said. "Having that confidence and self-esteem will take them where they need to go and beyond."

It turns out there's a lot about ice skating that's synonymous with life. One of the first lessons the girls learn is how to fall on the ice, which translates to much more.

"You may fall, you may fail at something," program director for Figure Skating in Detroit Lori Ward said. "It didn't work out this time, so what do you do? That's the most important thing. What do you do to move on and to make things go your way, or to then become successful?"

The girls said what they're doing is working.

"I love the way that we skate and how we learn more than skating things and get to know how we can be Olympic skaters and be smart and we can do better math and science and music activities," Karrington Mitchell, 7, said.

Jordyn Thomas, 11, said she's been skating since she was 3 years old. She dreams of becoming an Olympian.

"We get a lot of help here, and it's fun to do," she said. "We get to have fun. On Monday and Wednesday, we have skating and life skills, and on Tuesday and Thursday, we get to skate with our coaches."

Having Davis heavily involved in the program gives the girls first-hand access to an Olympic champion.

"Figure skating as a sport is a beautiful sport," Davis said. "It's a challenging sport. It teaches you skills that you can transfer off the ice, so whether it's goal-setting, persevering through the challenges, whether you're an Olympic skater, whether you're an elite skater,  or you just like to skate for fun, to learn these skills, I think it's a really great opportunity for young girls. For me to be able to communicate that and just have fun and give them the opportunity to learn these skills in a really fun setting is really awesome to me."

Davis said Detroit is the perfect place for the opportunity.


About the Authors: