*On a balmy Metropolis evening, Monday, April 5, 2010, and under the beautiful clear skies at Wollman Rink in Central Park, young and aspiring skaters from Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) – the first and only organization in the country to partner education and ice skating programs to enrich the lives of young girls — were joined by Olympic skating stars, VIPs and enthusiastic supporters to celebrate the sixth annual FSH benefit.
Themed Skating with the Stars, the mega successful skating spectacle raised nearly $350,000 to support FSH and add to the critically needed funds to ensure the future success of the famous skating school’s pioneering girls’ fitness and education program. The enchanting evening was filled with fun, food and fashion.
An overjoyed Sharon Cohen, founder and executive director of FSH, greeted guests at the signature event with overt thanks while conveying the importance of the organization. “For more than a decade, Figure Skating in Harlem’s dynamic organization has empowered girls to become champions in their own lives,” she said. “We’ve provided more than 1,000 girls with a compelling education and fitness program that promotes their physical well-being, leadership, and academic achievement.”
Each year FSH honors champions on and off the ice who have exhibited extraordinary accomplishments and dedicated service on behalf of children. This year’s honorees were Olympic Champion Kristi Yamaguchi; Tamara Tunie, star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and FSH’s chair emerita; and FSH board chair Candace S. Matthews, chief marketing officer, Amway.
Also Lucinda Knuth who was presented with FSH’s coveted 2010 star leadership award. “Their impeccable grace, intelligence, and generosity make them all gold medalists in our eyes,” expressed Cohen.
Judy and Rod Gilbert, Tina and Terry Lundgren, Evan Lysacek, and Melania and Donald Trump served as this year’s honorary chairs. Celebrity co-chairs included the cast of Law & Order: SVU (Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, Stephanie March, Ice-T, and B. D. Wong).
Lorraine Bracco, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, Gloria Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Cameron Mathison, Katharine McPhee, Phylicia Rashad, Rhonda Ross, and Ramona Singer were among the members of the 2010 benefit committee.
During the soulful skating soiree, guests skated side by side with FSH students and an amazing roster of Olympic and World Medalists such as Kristi Yamaguchi, Jeremy Abbott (2010 US Men’s Figure Skating Champion), Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, Sasha Cohen, Meryl Davis and Charlie White (2010 Olympic Silver Medalists), Todd Eldredge, Timothy Goebel, Dorothy Hamill, Emily Hughes, Sarah Hughes, Mirai Nagasu, and Johnny Weir.
A number of hockey legends, including Ron Duguay, Rod Gilbert, Ron Greschner, and Bret Hedican, were also on hand for the festivities. Other bold-named guests in attendance included Kim Alexis, Richard Belzer, Gloria Gaynor, Ice-T with wife Coco, Christopher Meloni, and B. D. Wong.
FSH wishes to thank the 2010 gala corporate sponsors including Amway, New York Post, Bloomberg, Continental Airlines, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, The Walt Disney Company, BNY Mellon, CooperKatz & Company, Inc., Marshalls, The Nielsen Company, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, UBS, Con Edison, Fitzgerald + CO, and Gucci.
Figure Skating in Harlem has served over 1,000 New York City girls since 1997 with an innovative education and ice-skating program that transforms young lives and helps Harlem girls grow in confidence, leadership, and academic achievement.
Proceeds from the benefit event will help FSH continue to grow and become an even stronger resource for children in the community. FSH also hopes to develop a base of support that will help them secure a home rink of their own with access to skating and educational facilities year-round in Upper Manhattan. (Photos by Sue Coflin and Benjamin Solomon)
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.