Skaters from the New Edge Figure Skating Club gather for a group photo after the conclusion of a charity exhibition at the John Lindell Ice Arena Feb. 28.

Skaters from the New Edge Figure Skating Club gather for a group photo after the conclusion of a charity exhibition at the John Lindell Ice Arena Feb. 28.

Photo provided by Sue Richardson


Royal Oak figure skaters give back with charity event

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 23, 2021

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — On Feb. 28, skaters from the New Edge Figure Skating Club held a charity skating exhibition at the John Lindell Ice Arena in Royal Oak.

The event, called “Take 2 Skating Exhibition” because the pandemic thwarted the first attempt to hold the fundraiser that typically takes place in December, raised $750 for HOPE (Helping Oakland’s People Everyday), a Pontiac-based nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless people.

Twelve skaters came up with their own costumes, choreography and music with their coaches, and each skater was allowed a maximum of two spectators, spaced out on the bleachers, per social distancing guidelines.

Club members and their families made donations toward the cause.

The club’s Athletes Advisory Board, consisting of middle and high school students, hosted the event. Since its creation in 2017 to promote leadership opportunities, the Athletes Advisory Board has hosted a charity event with a different local beneficiary each year.

“We feel it is important to give back to the community,” said Jaime Saliba, president of the Athletes Advisory Board and a senior at Shrine High School. “We chose HOPE because we wanted to help the people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

New Edge Figure Skating Club President-elect Sue Richardson said all attendees wore masks and skaters only removed their masks while performing, but wore them prior to their performances and during group photos.

As a city-owned facility, Richardson said the John Lindell Ice Arena closed for six months beginning in March 2020, opened for two months and then closed again for three weeks following the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the fall.

Claudia Saliba, Jaime’s mother and outgoing president of the club, said Jaime came up with the idea for a skater-led organization within the club. The group has hosted seasonal events and, during the pandemic, came up with a social media promotion called #newedgestrong so that skaters could stay connected.

She said skaters used to be able to socialize in the lobby between lessons, but now the primary method of connection is virtual.

“The first year, the Athletes Advisory Board had eight members,” Claudia said. “This year, it has 17 members.”

The New Edge Figure Skating Club, established in 2010, has 140 members who call the John Lindell Ice Arena home.

“We still wanted to do (the charity exhibition) because we love giving back to the community,” Jaime said. “We decided to move it back to when everyone had enough time to be able to practice.”

She said the 12 programs ranged from beginner to advanced and that it was an overall fun time.

For more information about the New Edge Figure Skating Club, visit newedgefsc.org or call (248) 246-3950.

Advertisement