In Muncie, Indiana, special-needs children and adults are learning the value of cheerleading and, in return, the community is also learning the power cheerleading can have on people's lives.

Cole Academy of Dance, Gymnastics and Cheerleading has cheerleading classes for special-needs students where they can learn basic tumbling moves and chants and cheers. The classes are free as the teachers all volunteer their time. The squad even has performances! In June, the squad performed at the Academy's anniversary recital.

Not only are the students having fun, but they're also developing physical and personal skills, including a more positive outlook on life.

According to a student's mother, as reported by The Star Press, cheerleading has given her daughter "a different outlook. We were trying to help her with her confidence. This has given us a new Alexis, in some ways."

The class, which started two years ago, is preparing for its third season. Classes are instructed by the academy's owner, her executive assistant, and a former Ball State cheerleader. Classes and squads range in age from middle school students to adults, all with special-needs. Instructors have noticed many of the students coming out of their shell and gaining confidence as a result of the classes and performances.

The community is nearly just as supportive as the parents and instructors. Whenever the squad performs, they receive a standing ovation from the audience. This August, the squad will face their biggest audience yet - Ball State football fans and students - when they perform at half-time for one of the 's football games.

News source: The Star Press
What do you think about this story? How has cheerleading changed your life?