Young figure skater embodies Kroc’s dream

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by Amy Jankowsky – 

PRACTICE TIME AT the Kroc Center for Brett Ryan and Amy Sims, who recently competed in the 2005 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championship in New York.

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center member Brett Ryan, 14, and his skating partner Amy Sims, 12, recently competed in the 2005 U. S. Junior Figure Skating Championship in New York and placed 18th in the nation.

What’s really incredible is that Brett has only been skating for two years and teamed up with Amy just nine months ago.

Brett came to the Kroc Center in San Diego, Calif., when his mom, Wendy Ryan, started swimming in the warm water therapy pool as she recovered from serious back surgery. While she exercised, Brett rollerbladed in the skatepark. After awhile he decided to try something that changed his life: He strapped on a pair of ice skates.

It didn’t take Brett long to discover he loves ice skating. Soon he was taking private lessons, and then he started competing. “I just enjoy skating,” he said. “I’m good at skating. I was never good at rollerblading.”

Today Brett is fulfilling Joan Kroc’s dream of helping kids discover their hidden gifts and talents by trying new activities, and providing a place where their dreams can soar.

According to Wendy Ryan, one of Brett’s brothers had wanted to play ice hockey, but couldn’t take up the sport because there wasn’t an ice arena nearby.

“There’s no question Brett never would have seen the ice without the Kroc Center,” she said. “I never would have dreamed it.”

Brett practices more than 20 hours each week and volunteers at the Kroc Center’s skating school and with the Special Olympics’ ice skating competition. Needless to say, skating has become a huge part of his life.

While they realize the dream could be a long shot, both Brett and his partner, Amy, say they would like to compete in the Olympics one day.

“I’m going to go as long as I can until it’s not logical to continue,” he said. “I’m just going to put my best foot forward.”

Brett is only one of example of a dream being realized at the Kroc Center.

There are people discovering hidden talents throughout the 12.4-acre family support, education, recreation, and cultural arts facility each day. From the fitness and aquatics centers to the state-of-the-art Joan B. Kroc Theatre and School of Visual and Performing Arts to the education center and ice arena, there is something for everyone.


We’re on the move again

We’re on the move again

The following appointments are effective February 2, 2005, unless otherwise

Horwood sent to Sri Lanka

Horwood sent to Sri Lanka

Captain Ted Horwood, territorial world missions secretary, has joined Salvation

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