“Awesome” is the word that comes to mind when Audrey Chisholm talks about her team, the Mokena Burros recreational cheerleading squad. A strong squad with a winning tradition, this team is all about inclusivity.

The 13 year old eats, sleeps and breaths cheerleading. Diagnosed with Down syndrome, Audrey has faced many challenges and setbacks on her journey to becoming a cheerleader. From an early age, she dreamed of having the sharp moves and toping stunts. Her supportive parents set out to find a squad that would embrace her talent, energy and enthusiasm. “This is such an important thing for Audrey, it’s what she wakes up in the morning and looks forward to,” said Audrey’s mom. “When you have an athlete that is so focused on one thing, you know they’re going to do amazing, because it’s their passion.”

The Chisholms connected with the Mokena Burros cheerleading team and Coach Christine O’Donell was thrilled to have Audrey join the squad. “We’re a recreational cheer program, and we’re all-inclusive,” O’Donnell said. “When we have girls join our team, we work to get them to the top level.” Audrey practices with her team four hours a week and worked hard to earn a bid to nationals in Orlando, FL.

The Mokena Burros cheerleading squad embraced Audrey’s differences and came together as a team to achieve an incredible goal. “These 23 girls are going to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Chisholm said of Audrey’s teammates. “And they’re going to know what it’s like to have a friend with a disability and to be protective of them. Through these 23 girls, the world will be a better place.” These young ladies are inspiring and truly shed light on why America needs cheerleaders!