As cheerleading grows, so do the inspirational actions of cheerleaders. What we particularly love is that these wonderful cheerleaders’ stories are being shared. It’s so important for the world to see that cheerleaders aren’t just on the sidelines; they’re in the community making a difference. Seeing their inspiring actions not only break down negative stereotypes, but they also show the value of cheerleading. This past year, we’ve read and shared so many stories about cheerleaders making a difference. As we get closer to the end of the year, we want to take a moment to share some of the spectacular actions by cheerleaders and cheer organizations. The Sparkle Effect We’ve previously talked about The Sparkle Effect, a foundation that supports cheerleaders with disabilities. Created in 2008, the foundation has soared and spread across the country, inspiring schools to add squads for the disabled or to allow disabled students to join the cheerleading squad. Now, the founder and president of the organization, Sarah Cronk, is being honored for her great work. This November, she will be honored with a World of Children Award, which is known as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates.” This will further give cheerleading in general a platform to share its ability to inspire. Science Cheerleader Started by former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader Darlene Cavalier, Science Cheerleader is an organization made up of current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who work in or are pursuing careers in science or engineering. Members of Science Cheerleader encourage women to engage in research projects, pursue science careers, and promote science in the community. Since its inception in 2006, Science Cheerleader has helped launch the Philadelphia Science Festival, teach science through cheers, mentor students, guest lectures, and, of course, cheer and perform at science festivals. This group is proof that cheerleaders aren’t airheads; they’re intelligent individuals! NFL Cheerleading Squads A number of NFL cheerleading squads are very involved with their community. The Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders created the Angels program nearly a decade ago, allowing young cheerleaders between the ages of three and five the chance to interact with their role models. The girls get to visit the cheerleaders at practice, join them for an annual picnic, and attend a Halloween party. The Kansas City Cheerleaders teach the girls dances, cheers, and lessons on eating healthy and being a good friend. Similarly, the Philadelphia Eagles cheer squad hosts an annual clinic for youth cheerleaders and aspiring cheerleaders. The Washington Redskins cheer squad not only hosts a clinic for young girls and boys, they also participate in almost 600 community and outreach events. Utah Peaks Academy In Bluffdale, Utah, Utah Peaks Academy offers those with special needs a chance to cheer. Run entirely by volunteers, the academy has two special needs squads, Team Pride and Team Perfection. The cheerleaders learn cheers and routines, even competing in local competitions! As a result, many parents of the cheerleaders have seen their children flourish as an athlete and individual‚ not only do they learn coordination and cheers, they learn the value of teamwork and ways to socialize. Secret Diary 2 Anti-Bullying Campaign One of the Superstars of All Stars, cheerleader Dee Temples, teamed up with Cheer Channel Inc. to launch an anti-bullying campaign. Along with other campaigners, Dee will speak out against bullying, share personal stories, and lead the charge to stop bullying in the spirit industry. Having been the victim of cyber bullying herself, Dee is determined to help end bullying and to help those affected by hurtful words or actions‚ online and off. Are you (or do you know someone who is) helping to make a difference in the cheer world? Share your story with us!