Who We are

Our Story


Our Mission

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.


HOW IT BEGAN: A Dream OF Ice and Empowerment

The adage "when the students are ready, the teacher appears" resonates profoundly in the origins of Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH).

In the early 1990s, community leaders Gene Kitt and Bernice DeAbreu invited former competitive skater Sharon Cohen to teach skating in the Harlem community, igniting a spark that would forever change lives. Under a shared vision, Cohen collaborated with dedicated parents and Upward, Inc. to create the foundation of what would become Figure Skating in Harlem.

"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

As more and more local families called for a comprehensive skating-enriched educational program, Figure Skating in Harlem was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1997.

What began with a small group of girls and a collective dream of gliding gracefully on the ice is now a pioneering force for girls' empowerment, with a network of more than 1,500 alumnae. FSH etched its name in history as the very first organization to fuse academic support, leadership development, and access to the captivating world of figure skating. Our legacy is one of dreams fulfilled and lives transformed.

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)

Our Founder

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.