In early 2000, Dr. Jean Folkerth, Recreation Therapist Professor at the University of Findlay, saw a need to provide a recreational program to help children with disabilities. She brought a small group of parents who either had a child with a disability or worked in the area of disabilities together and an idea was born to start a Chapter of Gliding Stars in the Findlay area. In November of 2000 we began with an exhibition skate for the community. After the overwhelming success of that event, an advisory committee was formed to start the task of fundraising. In January 2002, the Findlay Chapter was founded. In that first year we skated a half season from January to April with 25 Stars and approximately 50 volunteers who participated in the program. We received help from Gliding Stars National with the design of the ice show, costumes, and routines.
The 2005 ice show was the last year Dr. Folkerth was the program coordinator. She transferred to take a position at the University of Toledo. The next season parents took over the leadership of the program. During the 2007-2008 season we had four families from the Toledo area skating with us. In 2008-2009 a Gliding Stars of Toledo was formed. A grant was awarded in 2014 from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation to help Gliding Stars create a board of directors and established a paid position for an executive director.
Our organization was part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit National Headquarters in Buffalo New York for 20 years. Gliding Stars of Findlay Inc. received our official IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter on July 27, 2022, making us own independent nonprofit organization.
Serves Toddler to Adults with disabilities
Participating skaters have a wide range of abilities and special challenges, including: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Emotional, Behavioral and Learning Disabilities
Each skater is fitted with customized skates and other adaptive skating equipment, including helmets, harnesses, and walkers; all specially designed by Gliding Stars, Inc.
Season runs from September through March
Skaters participate in lessons each week (Sundays) during the season - paired with trained volunteers and directed by skilled skating instructors.
Lessons include fun activities as well as ice skating techniques to create an integrated community to help overcome limitations.
Skaters demonstrate their skills in a spectacular end-of-the-season Gliding Star Ice Show. Not to be missed!
Important benefits of the program include increased muscular strength, endurance, balance, coordination and socialization. Along with these accomplishments come confidence, independence, self-reliance, satisfaction, pride and enjoyment!
Funding is accomplished through a combination of efforts. Each participating skater pays a fee that covers a portion of the cost. The remainder comes from granting organizations, foundations, business and individual sponsorships and fundraisers. We are seeking more groups and businesses to join us in this incredibly fulfilling program. Gliding Stars of Findlay is designated a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.