The Gliding Stars Organization

It is the philosophy of Gliding Stars to use the sport of ice-skating for physical, mental and emotional growth of persons with disabilities.

Through ice-skating, people can achieve the physical benefits of improved posture, fine and gross motor coordination, strengthened muscles and improved balance and coordination. A social and recreational activity, the instructional program also brings people with and without disabilities together in a team-oriented, helping environment. This develops increased confidence and social skills on the part of the skaters, which carries over positively into other areas of their lives. The achievement of progressive goals in this warm and emotionally supportive atmosphere creates a positive self-image that enhances the quality of life and the participant’s ability to succeed in other life situations.

The program is inclusive in terms of age, race, gender and ability. The ages of skaters range from 18 months to 73 years. Types of disabilities include, but are not limited to: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, sensory impairments including blindness and hearing impairments/deafness, learning disabilities, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, heart transplant, congenital myopathy, speech impairments, hemophilia, amputation, William’s Syndrome, cancer, scoliosis, down syndrome, autism, neurological impairments, congenital heart defects, epilepsy, seizure disorders, emotional disabilities and multiple disabilities. An overall average of 1.8 volunteers are engaged in assisting each skater in the program, creating a significant volunteer force that propels the organization in each local community.

A critical component of the Gliding Stars philosophy is to create an atmosphere of love and warmth, with caring, sensitive people in a fun environment.

“I CAN DO IT! I CAN SKATE!” is a theme that is carried over from weekly training sessions to the day of the public ice show.


Organization Structure

Tax Status

Gliding Stars, Inc. is organized as a not-for-profit educational institution, and is recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a tax-exempt organization under its regulation 501(c)(3). Support of Gliding Stars is therefore tax-deductible.

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year of Gliding Stars, Inc. begins on July 1 and continues through June 30 of the following calendar year.

General Organization

Gliding Stars, Inc.

Gliding Stars, Inc. is a public charity incorporated and registered in New York State, where it files annual documents concerning its corporate and charitable activity. The organization grew out of requests to replicate a local program of Buffalo, New York that also was originally founded by Elizabeth O’Donnell in 1977, called “The Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped”.

Gliding Stars was incorporated in 1994 to respond specifically to the requests to replicate the program.

It was incorporated under the original name of “SABAH National, Inc.” and adopted the present name in 2004. It consists of a Board of Directors who determine the policy, procedures and strategy of the organization. The Board elects a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary as officers who carry out the legal and fiduciary duties of the corporation under the laws of New York State, the additional states in which it has local activity and the United States of America. Founder and President Elizabeth M. O’Donnell is not a member of the Board, but attends Board meetings and advises the Board in the execution of programmatic, fundraising and management activity.

The Mission of Gliding Stars

The Gliding Stars organization provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to increase their personal potential through development of ice skating skills in a regular program of instruction and practice in their own local community, culminating in the demonstration of those skills publicly in an end-of-season on-ice choreographed performance, which itself serves as a source of motivation, teamwork, increased self-esteem and the “magic” that results from transcending one’s barriers in order to accomplish one’s dreams.

Strategy in Support of Our Mission

Operation Through Local Chapters

Provide instructional expertise, specialized assistive products, administrative support and consultative guidance to community organizations nationwide so they may enroll and teach skaters with disabilities, through the engagement of volunteers and the procurement of assets required to successfully develop and operate a local Gliding Stars Adaptive Ice Skating Program.

Dissemination of Information and Instruction

Spread the involvement in ice-skating for people with disabilities nationwide and worldwide by providing information and instruction for individuals and groups who are interested in developing similar programs to teach individuals with disabilities how to ice skate.