Courage on the Ice: Claire’s Story

Seven-year-old Claire is not a fan of winter sports. She once tried skiing with her family but found it difficult to keep her balance. Claire’s low muscle tone and challenges with fine and gross motor skills can make it hard for her to engage in sports and physical activity.

It was a chilly Sunday morning in November when Claire and mom, Sun-Ah, arrived for the first session of Ausome Learn to Skate. It was her first time on the ice and Claire needed assistance from volunteer Amy to stay upright. Taking breaks to make snow angels on the rink and watch the other skaters, they tried the drills at their own pace. 

Despite a few bumps and bruises, Claire was eager to return the following week. By the end of week two, she was able to stand up on her skates and take a few steps with assistance. ‘She was so proud of herself!’ Sun-Ah said in a phone call with Executive Director, Jamie Logue. 

Claire, the girl who doesn’t love winter sports, told her mom she couldn’t wait to go again. 

Week by week, her enthusiasm for the program grew. So did her impatience for Sunday morning to arrive, when she could get back on the ice. And her hard work was beginning to pay off. After week three, Claire could stand upright on her own! After week four, she could glide unassisted!

As her mom says, Claire prefers to do things on her own, so Coach Cece and Ausome volunteers gave her just the right level of support and encouragement. 

Then something really special happened. During her fifth session, for the first time Claire was able to apply the techniques she had been working on each week to pull herself up off the ice completely on her own. ‘I could see she was discovering her own abilities through the activities that were planned in the program. It gave me hope and assurance,’ Sun-Ah shared.

With support, patience and people who believed in her, Claire found the courage to try and try again until she got the hang of it. Now there’s no stopping her! ‘This program unlocked something inside of herwe have tried many other winter activities with Claire but this was the first time she achieved success and had fun doing it.’

Since Learn to Skate, mom reports that Claire has been to public skating and plans to continue skating this winter, including family outings on the canal with her brother, 10, who also loves skating. “Thanks to this Ausome program, we finally have a winter activity we can all enjoy as a family.” 

Way to go, Claire! See you on the canal soon!


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