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NYer of the Week: Violet Eagan Introduces Kids to New Experiences, On Ice and Off

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This week's New Yorker might be the reason that tomorrow's Olympic figure skaters are Brooklyn natives. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.

After a career of competitive figure skating and coaching, Violet Eagan was ready to retire.
But she didn't exactly hang up her skates.

Eagan is the founder and director of Brooklyn Ice, a nonprofit with a mission to use ice skating to push kids forward in life.

"I just really like skating, and I'm so proud that I can still do this," she says.

Twice a week, young New Yorkers come to the new ice rink in Prospect Park for an hour of homework help, followed by lessons on racing, gliding and twirling.

"It's a real exciting feeling, that you're free, you're able to do anything," says student Cleeford Auguste.

Auguste was the first boy to join Brooklyn Ice eight years ago. Now, he wants to go to the Olympics.

"If this program weren't around, I really would just be going home, watching TV and just playing video games," he says.

That's what keeps Violet and her team of volunteer instructors going, some of whom went through the program themselves.

"She was my very first skating coach here at the old Wollman Rink in Prospect Park, so it's really nice to have that continuation, to still be teaching with her with this awesome program that she's founded," says Taela Brooks, an instructor with the program.

It's a program so beloved in Brooklyn that Eagan already has a waiting list for next year.
Her hope is to get enough funding and volunteers to eventually get any kid who wants to join on ice.

"There's so many options for, that you can light a spark in someone through skating," Eagan says. "It makes these kids listen to music they've never listened to before. They're probably watching the Olympics going, 'Oh my God, "Swan Lake." I've never heard that. I really like that.'"

So, for introducing kids to new experiences on the ice and off, Violet Eagan is our New Yorker of the Week.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Brooklyn Ice, visit brooklynice.org.

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