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Washington, DC 20019
With a mission to provide increased opportunity, education and inspiration to the young people of Washington, DC and the surrounding area through ice skating and educational activities, the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena (FDIA) serves over 7,000 children annually through the free KOI community skating program. Participants primarily consist of at-risk youth and teens from Southeast Washington, DC.
As the Fort Dupont Ice Arena is the only facility of its kind in the city and the only one to offer free or subsidized skating lessons to disadvantaged children, FDIA is providing students with an experience they would not otherwise have. Open daily ten months of the year, FDIA provides the community consistent access to programs and services, keeping children focused and busy during critical out-of-school hours. KOI programs also help students achieve a more fitness-oriented lifestyle along with learning a new healthy activity. Now in its fifteenth year, the program has grown to include elementary and advanced figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating, and Schools and Camps Skate for Fitness partnerships.
FDIA also provides a critical service to DC children and teens during summer out-of-school time hours through summer skating classes, lessons, and camps. In order to close part of the District government’s $188 million dollar budget shortfall in 2011, nearly $30 million in youth and educational programming dollars have been cut for the 2012 fiscal year, greatly reducing funding for summer programming, and providing fewer options to DC’s youth and families.
In addition to providing ice skating FDIA has equipped the ice arena with an educational meeting room; complete with ten computers. With the addition of the classroom and computer lab, FDIA expanded the population it serves, and offers both athletic and educational programming to the surrounding low-income community – a safe place to play and learn. The results are attractive social alternatives for at-risk youth that bolster self-esteem and self-image.