Being a cheerleader isn’t all about cheering on the sports teams at your school. It is also about getting involved in efforts to make your community a more positive place to live.

Scheduled teacher work days aren’t just a day off of school for the students of Lake Highland Preparatory School. The students commit their time to a day of community service with a combined total of 2,155 service hours, according to the school website. The cheerleaders are no exception to the Heart of a Highlander Day of Service. Their volunteer efforts range from helping out at the Ronald McDonald house, to improving government sanctioned homes for children with disabilities. At the end of the day the students are fulfilled because they have spent their time bettering the lives of others.

“[The people we’re helping] are going through a hard time. Just helping out a little bit can go a long way,” said senior cheerleader Emily Solley. She spent her day off of school helping to prepare food for the residents of the Ronald McDonald House of Arnold Palmer Hospital. The team members who went to the Ronald McDonald House felt like they were doing so much more than food preparation. These service projects allow the cheerleaders to not only improve the lives of other but also give them a chance to bond with each other. “I had so much fun with my cheer team. I learned so much about our community and realized how thankful people are for help in our community,” said sophomore Addie Williams.

Along with her teammates, junior Elise Bell chose to serve at a home where children with disabilities live. The house was in need of renovations that the foster mother could not tend to herself. “It helped the community because we made life easier for a foster mother who already is faced with many challenges every day,” said Bell. Painting and cleaning the rooms of the house gave the children a more comfortable place to live and play. The Heart of a Highlander Day of Service bonds not only teammates, but also the community. “It brought my community together because my teammates and I met people who we typically would not get the opportunity to spend time with during this day of service,” said Bell.

Next time you have a day off school or work, remember the Heart of a Highlander Day of Service. Even if it is only an hour, use your time to improve the lives of your fellow community members. Don’t forget- a little bit goes a long way!