Emily Hughes & Caitlin Klingbeil Encourage Support for SIF

Establishments in the skating community, the Hughes and Klingbeil families are known for their generous support of philanthropic endeavors throughout the country.


Sisters, Sarah, Taylor & Emily Hughes with Caitlin Klingbeil.

Today, Caitlin Klingbeil is a special education teacher in New York City, but Caitlin’s family has a long history within the sport of figure skating. Until recently, her family hand-crafted custom boots for over 50 years at the Klingbeil Shoe Labs in Queens, New York. Over the past few years, Caitlin has developed a deep passion for photography and is widely known for capturing unique images of New York City’s landmarks. During a recent trip to Ohio to visit with SIF’s Directors, Kristen Izzie and Martha Jankowski, Caitin captured several iconic street scenes from Downtown Columbus.

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Josh Farris Returns to the Ice to Support Skate It Forward

Every once in a while a figure skater comes along who touches an audience’s heart and dazzles those with a technical eye. Josh Farris is that rare skater.

When you float the name Joshua Farris to a skating enthusiast, you hear phrases like “brilliant interpretation,” “gorgeous lines,” “classic edging skills mixed with modern movement,” “innovative spins” and “pure jumping technique.”

The past couple of years have not progressed as Josh envisioned for his skating career. IMG_0790Following successive concussions during the summer of 2015 and upon the advice of a cautious medical team, Josh stepped away from competitive skating in June 2016. The possibility of returning to the ice rink, even for activities less demanding than competitive skating, seemed distant. During his arduous journey toward recovery, Josh sought guidance from concussion specialists, who assessed his improvements at every juncture. He took comfort and gained strength knowing he was supported by a deep network of family and coaches working together to make his hope of returning to skating a reality.

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Doug Mattis to Emcee Inaugural Skate It Forward Event

When Kristen told me she was going to launch Skate It Forward—I said, “Yes!” She laughed, “I haven’t asked you anything yet!” I told her, “Whatever you want me to do to help…I’m all yours!”

Thank you for offering your time so generously, Doug, and thank you for chatting with us so we can get to know you better.

IMG_0761Doug’s thoughts on coaching:  For me, coaching is about the transference. It’s about the Daily Victory. It’s about providing a skater incremental “Aha!” moments that collectively lead to an impressive skill set—backed up with their knowledge of process and technique…so they can go forth, themselves, and teach one day. I tell my parents—I don’t teach ice skating. I teach life skills. Focus, concentration, time management, goal setting, project management, presentation, grace, politeness, integrity…all skills and character traits that can be the benefit (regardless if a skater makes the Olympic Team or is only modestly laureled) if dedicating one’s self to skating, if you’ve got a coach that sees it that way.

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Hometown Skater Livvy Shilling Returns to Her Roots to Support SIF

Central Ohio native Livvy Shilling first put on skates when she enrolled in OhioHealth Chiller’s Skating School but can‘t recall exactly when she fell in love with the sport. She thinks it must have been before she even started skating!

D5A_6674“The daily work is precise and the improvements are incremental – some days not at all. People might find the daily grind boring, but I love testing what my blades can do. I love learning to go faster, jump higher, and spin in creative ways. And the beauty! I am inspired by the artistic side, too. Creating a program that captures the audience and judges makes my heart soar. The art of the sport is important to me.”

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Ice Dancers Hawayek & Baker Share Their Passion With SIF

Inspired by purpose.  Driven by passion.


While exploring innovative ways to share their creative vision on ice, Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker dedicated much of their 2016-2017 season to honing the  fundamental skills of ice dance. The team believes consistent development of exceptional bladework will allow them to reveal their unique and inspired passion for the sport. This laser-focused committment drives them to be formidable competitors today and in their many upcoming seasons.

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Renouned Skating Photographer Leah Adams Joins SIF

Photographing skating since the 1996 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Leah has traveled the world fulfilling her passion.


Leah is grateful for the experiences and people she has encountered because of the sport. Two of her favorite memories include riding in the Champions On Ice tour bus between shows and spending late nights after competitions rehashing the details of a spectacular program. Leah has watched Intermediate skaters grow to compete at the Olympics (she attended three of the last four!), and she has been privileged to meet the families of these and other talented individuals throughout her career.

Skate It Forward is thrilled to welcome Leah to its inaugural event May 6. Leah’s special eye for capturing incredible skating moments can be seen on countless skaters’ websites and across the internet. We look forward to sharing  Skate It Forward with you through Leah’s lens.

Leah retired from AT&T after 30 years and lives in Colorado with her husband of 41 years, Jim.

Champion Pair Team The Knierims Will Bring a Special Love to SIF Ice

Married last June, U.S. Champion pair team, Alexa and Chris Knierim, are excited to join the Skate It Forward cast May 6th.

Like the families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, Alexa and Chris recently felt the comforting power of a dedicated support team. While Alexa recovered from an unexpected illness and surgery, the Knierims gained strength by relying on the determination, love, and support of family, coaches, and friends. The two know first-hand the critical importance of a committed and caring team who is beside them at every step. They are honored to share their passion for life with the SIF community.

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World Team Member Mariah Bell Joins SIF Cast

We are thrilled to announce that Mariah Bell will join the Skate It Forward cast.

Next week, 2017 U.S. Figure Skating World Team Member, Mariah Bell will head to South Korea to compete in an Olympic “test event,” this year’s site of the annual Four Continents Championships. In March, she will make her debut at the World Figure Skating Championships to be held in Helsinki, Finland.


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Weisiger Encourages Support for RMHC

“The public knows me as an Olympic coach and founder of Grassroots to Champions, but the most important part of my life is my family.”

My 22 month old grandson means the world to me, and everyday I am grateful to have him and my family in my life. In 2014, after my grandson was born, I had some Young Artists Showcase skaters create Audrey and her grandson.holiday decorations and planned to donate them to our children’s hospital, but, due to regulations, they were not allowed to take them. So we went to the Ronald McDonald House across the street, where everything was accepted with great appreciation. I was struck by the cheerful environment; it felt like a big family! And now, our holiday donations are a tradition. It’s my wish to keep all RMHC services available for all families in need. Every skater needs the support of their coaches and family to thrive, and in the bigger picture, it is imperative that critically ill children have their families with them, including siblings, who may not need medical attention, but must also be attended to so they can thrive as well. Thank you for supporting this important organization and have a great show!

audrey-headshotAudrey K Weisiger is a two time US Olympic coach. She was a recipient of the USFS Coach of the Year in 1999 and was recently honored with the F Ritter Shumway Award, a lifetime achievement recognition from the PSA. She currently conducts seminars and camps with Grassroots to Champions, an organization that mentors coaches and their skaters. www.grassrootstochampions.com