Check out the Complete Guide to Inspiring Spirit: Tips and Tricks for Cheerleaders! Being a cheerleader means leading the spirit of a team at games, but it doesn’t stop there. Cheerleaders have a powerful reputation as people who work hard and get stuff done. Cheerleaders know that they rely on the kindness of their community for their fundraising efforts, and they go out of their way to give back to their community. The presence, perseverance and positive attitude of a cheerleading squad can reach far beyond the field and bounce right off the court. There is, in fact, no limit to the ways that a cheerleader can inspire their classmates, family and community. Whether you decide to extend your knack for inspiring with or without your team, don’t underestimate your ability lead, or your community’s willingness to get involved. Kick start your inspiration, and your inspiring mission, by reading about one foundation’s tear-jerking impact. Get Inspired! What does it take to make a difference? When Everyone Cheers, Everyone Wins: After watching how joining the swim team boosted her older brother’s self-esteem, Sarah Cronk realized how critical it is to open up high school sports to students with disabilities. In 2008, she launched The Sparkle Effect with her cheerleading squad, and the foundation is now a nationwide program and the recent winner of the Do Something Awards’ top honor and $100,000 grant. The Ripple Effect of The Sparkle Effect How far is one girl’s inspiration going? High School Senior Started Squad After Seeing Segment on Oprah: Senior cheerleader Adriana Barranco saw a special on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” featuring two Iowa varsity cheerleaders who started a cheerleading squad just for disabled girls. The foundation, called The Sparkle Effect, spread across the country, and Barranco brought it to Nease High School. Team Forms for Kids with Special Needs: The Classic All-Stars Cheer & Dance team family is expanding to include a new member: the Classic Pride, a special needs cheerleading group. The 2011-2012 season is the first for the group, which is open to boys and girls of all ages and welcomes any child with physical or developmental disability or other special needs who has “a heart for cheer or dance.” Bonus! What happens when those dedicated to inspiring have a bump in the road? For one squad, their community was inspired to raise up to the challenge and get their fearless leaders back on their feet (literally!). Community Response Overwhelms Cheerleaders Rocked by Equipment Theft: After enduring an emotional fight to save their sport from the budget ax and just days before their first game of the season, cheerleaders were without cheerleading shoes after thieves stole them from their coach’s car. Their anger and heartache has been replaced with humble amazement at the outpouring of support from their community. Individuals, organizations and companies responded with donations to more than make up for the loss. Do you have an inspirational story? Share it here!