WASHINGTON -- Before the sun comes up on the weekends, in the heart of Ward 7 in Southeast D.C., kids file into the Fort Dupont Ice Arena. They’re hitting the ice to practice speed skating, figure skating and hockey.

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Ty Newberry, the executive director of the non-profit, Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, said some people are surprised to find a bustling hockey rink in the middle of an underserved urban area. They’re the only public indoor ice arena located in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t know how many rinks there are in this country that are centrally located in an African American community… We provide a lot of opportunity for kids throughout D.C., especially Ward 7 and Ward 8,” said Newberry.

Those nearly 2,500 kids are joined by others from all over the D.C. area. On the ice, no matter where they come from, they’re just one team.

“We’re not here to build future ice skaters, we’re here to build future citizens,” said Newberry.

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“It’s a safe place. You come in here and it’s not, it’s not warm in temperature but it’s warm in spirit,” said one young skater.

“I feel really, really beautiful on the ice. If I want to be really dramatic, more dramatic than I usually am, I can. If I want to be really sassy and fierce I can. So, it feels really good,” said her teammate.

The Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena has provided free lessons and equipment since 1996, and as many hockey parents know, it’s not a cheap sport.

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That’s why every donation is so important.

“We’re looking to provide more and more opportunities for our kids. We don’t have anyone writing big checks. It’s.. five, ten, fifteen-dollar donations we survive on,” said Newberry.

What a donation means for Friends of Fort Dupont?

$24 Use of rental skates, helmet, and gloves for one child during one week of summer camp.

$48 Supplies for one enrichment class.

$124 two days of summer camp for one child.

$240 Nearly one week of summer camp for one child.

$480 Covers the cost of 10 enrichment classes.

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