Mitzvot from the Heart: Grace Steinback

Grace Steinback

Grace Steinback, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Grace is a competitive figure skater, working with four coaches on and off the ice, skating every day. She has been competing for the past five years and has been on a synchronized skate team for the past four. Daughter of Courtney and Geoff Steinback of Olivette, Grace is serious about the sport. 

Volunteering as a “buddy” with iSkate fit perfectly with Grace’s interests and strengths. iSkate is a weekly program at Creve Coeur Ice Arena where skaters with developmental disabilities are paired with a volunteer to help them navigate the ice.

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Each week from October through April a large group of athletes come to skate at the Creve Coeur Ice Arena and are paired with a buddy. Some skate independently, some are in wheelchairs and some are in between. Grace has a new athlete each week and spends the time on the ice learning about their life. It is very rewarding for both athlete and volunteer.

“Grace was very apprehensive at first as she did not have any experience working with handicapped individuals,” said her mother.  “But after a few sessions of just watching, she mustered the strength to try it and loved it.”

A student a Ladue Middle School, Grace also worked on basic figure skating skills with the athletes who were capable of trying them. She understood that when you have a gift you have to give back. “It gave me joy to help these athletes achieve their goals,” Grace said.

This program is so well known in the figure skating community that now Grace’s skating club friends participate. And, her mother saw how much fun Grace was having that she, too, became an active volunteer. She assists on the ice but only with wheelchair bound athletes or those needing a full time walker. 

Although the project itself is over, Grace continues to volunteer whenever her competition schedule permits.

Mitzvot from the Heart is compiled by Jewish Light Editorial Assistant Elise Krug. To have your child’s mitzvah project included, contact Elise at 314-743-3671 or [email protected]