DETROIT (AP) -- The Figure Skating in Harlem program so successful in the New York inner city is planning its first national expansion, to Detroit.
Figure Skating in Detroit will be launched as a sister program to FSH, the only organization in the world for African American girls that combines the power of education with access to the artistic discipline of figure skating.
Sochi Olympics gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White joined FSH founder Sharon Cohen and FSD leader Geneva Williams in announcing the creation of the Detroit organization.
''We're absolutely thrilled to take part in bringing this fantastic program to Detroit,'' Davis said. ''Throughout our many years with the sport of figure skating, Charlie and I have come to value the lessons the sport teaches its participants both on the ice and off.
''While the occasional fall is as inevitable in our sport as it is in life, the girls of Figure Skating in Detroit will learn that it's picking one's self back up that really counts. As a youth development program, I truly believe that FSD will have a positive and lasting impact on the young women of Detroit.''
White, a Michigan native, is excited about the role FSD can play in Detroit's revival.
''Detroit has been on the comeback trail for some time now, and perhaps nothing exemplifies this more than the introduction of Figure Skating in Detroit,'' White says. ''We have seen firsthand the wonders the program has led to in changing lives in Harlem, and I can't wait to see the powerful positive changes it can bring to the young women in the city of Detroit.''
The program is designed to empower participants through comprehensive academics and education emphasizing STEM curriculum; healthy lifestyle resources; entrepreneurship; leadership and social skills training; and instruction on critical thinking and problem solving.
''Figure Skating in Detroit is designed to help young girls build a foundation on ice . a place and a program where young women can realize their full potential through access to information, resources and experiences that may otherwise be out of reach,'' Williams says. ''This is a youth development opportunity for Detroit's young women, wrapped around the fun, artistry and discipline of figure skating.''
In its inaugural year, FSD plans to serve 300 Detroit girls ages 6 to 15 through special community workshops, summer camps, skating shows and events. ICE (I Can Excel), a signature after-school program in which girls will receive four to six afternoons weekly of skating instruction and off-ice conditioning and educational services at the Jack Adams Ice Arena at the Adams Butzel Complex in northwest Detroit also is part of the program.
To participate, interested girls must be Detroit residents.
www.figureskatinginharlem.org or www.miwf.org/figureskatingindetroit.