Our Story


Figure Skating in Harlem helps girls transform their lives and grow in confidence, leadership and academic achievement. We are the only organization in the world for girls of color that combines the power of education with access to the artistic discipline of figure skating to build champions in life.

Our Vision

To empower every young girl with the skills and foundation to achieve her dreams. She will be a powerful speaker, an effective leader, live a healthy and financially independent lifestyle, and be a global citizen. We aim to bring the benefits of our model program to even more children by creating chapters in other communities.



The saying goes that when the students are ready, the teacher appears. This statement is all too true for the genesis of Figure Skating in Harlem!

Founded in 1997 as a response to a direct need in the Harlem community, FSH established itself as a safe space for young girls to achieve academic excellence and physical well-being through the lens of figure skating.

Founder and CEO, Sharon Cohen heard this call to action in the early 90’s when she was invited by community leaders Gene Kitt and Bernice DeAbreu to teach a group of girls on the ice at Upward, Inc., an East Harlem community organization.  Together they began the journey to transform young lives.

"I witnessed first-hand the difference skating made in the lives of young girls. They beamed with pride as they experienced their progress. There was nothing like it."

-Sharon Cohen

After collaborating with Upward, Inc. for more than 6 years, Cohen saw that the demand for a skating enriched education program grew well beyond their walls. With tremendous support from the community and parents, Figure Skating in Harlem was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3).

What started out with a handful of girls and a dream to figure skate, soon became a leading girls empowerment organization; the first ever to combine rigorous academic support, with leadership development, and access to the artistic discipline of figure skating.

LIMA, PERU - APRIL 27: Sharon Cohen, Founder and Executive Director, Figure Skating in Harlem delivers a speech during Subsiadiary Session #3B as part of the closing day of the 15th IOC World Conference Sports For All  at Sala Huascaran on April 27, 2013 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/LatinContent/Getty Images)


Learn more about our Founder, Sharon Cohen, here!
And watch her TEDxColumbiaUniversity talk!

FSH’s programs work with hundreds of girls annually on the ice and in the classroom. Our staff has grown from 3 to more than 75 coaches, teachers, tutors and counselors.