We have the honor to help so many fantastic people and organizations that we started a series to introduce some of the coolest ones a little while ago. The first story for 2018 talks about a place where kids go to dream, and to learn how to become what they really capable of – no matter what.

There is a place in DC, that was supposed to go down two decades ago, but some strong and loving parents and friends said that was not going to happen and took charge. This is how the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, a not for profit organization, was formed in 1996 and gave a new life and meaning to the former National Park Service property in the heart of Southeast DC.

The Friends of FDIA not only fixed up the ice skate ring but started programs that helped kids in the area make something better out of their lives for over twenty years. They created the Kids On Ice® (KOI) program, providing free lessons and training in figure skating, hockey and speed skating to youth in Washington DC Metropolitan area. All three types of skating are Olympic sports – and the program has helped some fantastic talents to actually participate the Games.

Out of the several successful Kids On Ice program alumni probably the most famous success story is of Maame Biney’s who began her speedskating career in the KOI program when she came to the States from Africa – literally not even knowing what ice was. Maame learned to first figure skate and then speed skate from the coaches at FDIA and spread her wings to earn great accomplishments. This super fun, bombastic 17-year-old star is now one of only three US women who earned a spot on the 2018 US Speedskating Olympic Team.

What is even more important: the two decades of love and care have helped thousands of kids find something meaningful and beautiful to look forward after school or as part of their PE curriculum. Coaches have taught and guided kids with great care and attention and the ice ring have been the home of many great success stories when kids felt confident, strong and beautiful on the ice. This feeling carries over into all walks of their lives and helps make a difference in the future they can have.

This photo depicts four of the speedskaters of Kids On Ice participating in a race as “Lightning McQueen” from the movie “Cars” during a recent holiday skating show. We are so happy and proud to be at least a tiny little a part of their fantastic performance.

Check out this heart-warming video about how important the Kids On Ice program is to these kids and what it really means to them to ice skate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ9ThzoYNJk

If you have a chance to support the work of the Friends of FDIA either financially or as volunteers, please, do so. You can find more information at their website: www.fdia.org/