StarSkaters Sled Hockey did so much for me and my family. I started as the father of a disabled son who had an interest in hockey and we quickly became a regular and volunteer as well. When we started out by coming to the ice rink on Saturday, we barely missed another Saturday for a couple of years. We handled equipment, we put together a system and helped build the equipment storage room and it was a full 2 years of activity, travel and fun for all involved. Jim and Lilia made us a part of a family and it became a social life for our entire family. The level of experience, competition and activities were always the best and although we have moved on from that time, it remains as one of the best times in our lives. My son has really grown through the years and so much of that is thanks to StarSkaters Hockey and Jim. They help so many and even with the team getting better and better and growing on the ice, there was always an open door for anyone with disabilities wanting to try ice hockey or even ice skate. This organization gives to a huge community and it is ever expanding. We would have regulars driving over every Saturday from Beaumont/Port Arthur Victoria and many other communities because of what Star Skaters offered, free of charge and we were honored to have been a part of it. And truly hope that our health and time improves to the point that we could once again, get involved.
The smiles on the faces of the kids, parents and instructors say it all. Kids who never thought they could skate are now flying on the ice thanks to STARskaters. Every rink in America should have a program like this.
I have been fortunate enough to have seen, with my own eyes, the miracles StarSkaters does.
On a recent trip to Texas, I went to see what skate therapy was all about. I had already visited with the sled hockey program on a couple prior visits. I knew how amazing that was and wanted to check out this side of the organization.
I saw a lot of young people with various mental and physical disabilities having the time of their lives. It really filled my heart.
I also saw something that was nothing short of a miracle. There was one young boy that seemed to be in his own world. He was sitting, looking down and flapping his ears with his hands. He didn't seem to connect at all with the world around him. One of the volunteers approached him and gently spoke with him and led him out to the circle of other young people preparing to do the pre-skating exercises. In no time at all, he was a part of the group and participating with the others. To see that transformation done in a matter of moments was truly amazing.
StarSkaters has some of the most wonderful volunteers that work so well with the participants that it touches your heart and soul. Thank you, StarSkaters!
As a person who volunteers for this organization, I can say firsthand, the huge difference this organization makes for so many people. Lifechanging is almost too little to say how this has made a positive effect on so many lives and the lives of the participants' families. Kudos again and again for this wonderful non-profit organization.
StarSkaters is a fabulous organization that makes a huge difference for so many people. All of the selfless volunteers work hard to provide a safe environment on the ice for people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy this experience. The smiles on the faces of the skaters say volumes about this work. And, this organization has extended its work to provide support for a sled hockey team that has become a national rated team. Kudos to Jim O'Neill and this wonderful organization.
STARskaters is full of amazing people, who share the passion of loving to be on the ice! Not only that, they brought back a part of my life that I thought I would never get back: getting to skate on the ice again. I have autoimmune nerve disease, but thanks to them, I get to skate and play sled hockey with some of the coolest people ever! I look forward to coming every single Saturday to play sled hockey!
StarSkaters is literally a life-changing program. The volunteers are awesome. Between the sled hockey and the skate therapy program, there is something for everyone.
Thank you for offering this fantastic program.
Starskaters has been a blessing. We first learned about them at an Disability Expo. My son was a hockey fan and had always dreamed about playing other sports after serving as trainer for the varsity football team his 4 years in Highschool, but actually being a completing player, he only thought it would be a dream of his never a reality. He had tried some of the wheelchair basketball but he just didnt have the ability to shoot the ball and he struggled too much, in addition to the fact that it wasnt his true love, hockey.
From the 1st day we were there, they set him up in a sled and in no time, he got the opportunity of a lifetime, he got to travel to PA to participate in the National Sled Hockey tournament. In fact, his first true competitive game he ever played was the first roud of the tournament. SO his beginning experience kind of hooked him. We have rarely missed a Saturday ever since that Saturday in August of 2012. In fact, my wife and I have committed our Saturdays that we dont have to work as being volunteers, including the tournament trips where we are needed. For as long as Andy is part of the team, we will be the most committed and tried and true volunteers they have, as far as our help goes, but they have so many others that commit to this great cause simply because it is such a great cause, and a great group of people doing such a wonderful thing. Most everyone that starts to be involved with starskaters quickly becomaes a member of our Hockey family and that is what we are a family. So we continue to invite people to come out on Saturday and try it. It is always free and you will probably be like us, and become hooked. We have been away for the last 3 weeks due to being sick and the holidays and it is just killing us. We gotta get back so meet us there next Saturday, at Memorial City Mall at 10 am. Houston TX Be there
We learned of this great group last August at the Accessibility Expo and our Son who was born with Spina Bifida has really grown in so many areas, thanks to Star Skaters. He has always loved hockey and been a huge fan. Star Skaters has given him the opportunity to participate in the sports he loves so much. My wife has volunteered each Saturday since and as soon as I was physically able, I have been helping as well.
This organization and the people behind it care so much for the people who need these services. They go the extra mile in helping the guys and gals with anything from ingenious equipment modifications to ice time and other needs.
Just talking to the skaters and players, they say that they feel an incredible amount of freedom on the ice, and that makes it all worth while.
Special thanks to Jim O'Neil and Ken Belknap and so many others that give so much. I receive so much more than I give to this group and you will too should you decide to become involved.
Our son LOVES Star Skaters and ALL the people who are there on Saturday mornings. Some activities he must be strongly encouraged to participate in........no this. He plans his Saturday around sled hockey to be sure he does not miss a minute of his time with his friends and on the ice. The leaders, volunteers and parents are exceptional people...........all of them! It is wonderful to have a happy child.
Starskaters is about enabling. Starskaters creates an environment where disabilities disappear and accomplishments happen. Advancement to the highest level of Olympic achievement is a reality that has been attained. Starskaters is life changing and deserves 100% support.
This charity is absolutely wonderful! It gives people with disabilities the opportunity to interact and exercise.
The participants in both the StarSkaters sled hockey and StarSkaters skate therapy program seem to really look forward to the weekend so that they can enjoy all these programs have to offer.
I have had the opportunity to try out the sled hockey and meet some of the skaters and the volunteers. Both are truly dedicated to keeping this priceless opportunity available to all. It seems to be a very important part of all of their lives.
Thank you for all that you do!
I've been volunteering for over a year and can't say enough about how awesome this program is for anyone with a disability. If you think you can't skate...they will likely prove you wrong. It's the best way to start a Saturday morning...seeing the smiles of everyone from the skaters, to the parents, as well as the volunteers. I would give it TEN stars if I could!!!
Incredible program serving kids with special needs. Highly rewarding for both the kids and the volunteers.
I can tell u the first time I volunteered I was instantly hooked. It's been 3 years now since the first time I stepped on the ice to help. I enjoy seeing people from all walks of life persevere. This group and it's founders really have impacted me personally. I only wish this event happened more than once a week!
My son just started the sled hockey program and he loves it. All the volunteers are kind and helpful and they provide all the equipment!
I cannot say enough great things about StarSkaters. My son is taking part in the Sled Hockey program and he absolutely loves it. The program provides him with the opportunity to excel in a sport despite his physical limitations. It also allows him the chance to socialize with other individuals who are living with similar challenges and to learn from them. If you stop by the rink on a Saturday morning, you will see all of the smiles, hear the laughter, and then you will truly know what a difference StarSkaters Sled Hockey program makes in the lives of the players and their families.
Our son LOVES Starskaters. He likes to participate in sports like his brother and sister, likes to be active, loves meeting and seeing his numerous friends he has made through Starskaters. With many activities he has to be nudged.....Not this ! Going to the rink on Saturday mornings is one of the highlights of his week! Jim O'Neill, Reid, and the other volunteers are exceptional people!
As an adult volunteer, I have never witnessed such dedication and focus from the skaters and on ice instructors as I have seen here. A great family atmosphere, smiling faces and excitement from all involved, the best way to spend a Saturday morning by being there to help where I can.
We came across the Star Skaters sled hockey team from someone whom is currently participating. This is the greatest thing since sliced bread. My son has been participating for about 6 weeks now and cannot get enough. I highly recommend anyone interested to try it at least once and you will be hooked. I also want to thank Jim O'neill, the coaches and all of the volunteers in Houston for making this a wonderful experience.
This organization has so much to offer..from sled hockey to skate therapy. Our sled hockey program has had one of its players to make the USA Sled Hockey Team! And on the skate therapy side, one of the volunteers has invented a device so that skaters with no sight would be able to skate. Speaking of inventions, on our sled hockey side, a volunteer there also invented an arm attachment for a player with one arm. So now, he can use two arms to fly down the ice. We have outstanding volunteers working with outstanding participants to help grow StarSkaters.
After volunteering with StarSkaters, I can say that helping this organization has been the best experience...life changing. They are such a great bunch of people to see and be around. Their great attitudes and outlook on life is contagious. You smile at the start, middle and end of the day of volunteering with StarSkaters. We went to a tournament with the sled hockey team. We knew we couldn't stay the whole tournament but when it was time to go, we couldn't. We kept prolonging the departure because it was so hard to leave the team. Seeing them playing, giving everything they have as a team and achieving so much was such a joy ! I nominate this organization and I have recommended this organization.
The growth of STARskaters Sled Hockey and SkateTherapy programs speaks volumes for the benefits provided to not only the families and skaters, but to the volunteers as well.
None of this would be possible without the generous donation of time and talents of our volunteer instructors, equipment wranglers, "pit crew", mechanics and inventors who have developed some incredible adaptive devices to benefit both programs.
I'm also thankful for the many friendships that have been developed with everyone involved. The programs have really developed a "family" feel. Thanks to all for creating and spreading the magic of STARskaters!