"They are truly genuine, loving, caring girls that are learning to look around them and try to help where they can. If that is the only thing I teach them before they graduate, then I will be happy."

For the Marietta cheer program, being part of the squad doesn’t only mean cheering on the sidelines on Friday night. It’s so much more than the practice time, uniforms or competing. It’s about being a member of your community and doing good for that community. Each month the program, which consists of the middle and high school cheer teams, does a community service project. “We feel this gives them a chance to bond over things besides cheerleading and to learn about the community around them and how they can give back to others no matter what their own circumstance,” said head coach Sarah Snow.

Over the past year, their projects have included writing letters to a local assisted living facility, selling t shirts and donating the profits to cancer awareness, and cleaning up downtown Marietta. One of their favorite projects, however, was the Shining Star Award. The high school association in Ohio awarded $500 to two programs to go out and do good in their community- one of these went to Marietta.

The program decided to give this money to the Gospel Mission Food Pantry. “We nominated the Gospel Mission Food Pantry because of their work to provide food and other resources to residents of our area who would otherwise go hungry,” said Snow. “This organization has provided food to some of our own families during these hard times, so we know first-hand the impact that they make.”

It’s important to Snow to teach her cheerleaders the importance of giving back. Being an active member of your community is an essential role of a cheerleader. “Community service allows us to develop leadership and problem solving skills, and lifts the spirits of everyone we are helping,” said Kennedy Brown, a sophomore on the team.

Getting involved with the community is a way to grow, not only as a person but as a team. “Doing these community service projects has made me a more compassionate person and a more involved community member,” said Ziza Stanley, a freshman on the team. “It has also been a great way to bond with my teammates as I work alongside them off the mat.”

Snow is proud to coach such a selfless group of cheerleaders. They’re always eager to help out in their community and represent their school in a positive way. “They are truly genuine, loving, caring girls that are learning to look around them and try to help where they can. If that is the only thing I teach them before they graduate, then I will be happy,” said Snow.

Thank you to the Marietta cheerleaders—you do so much to help your community and that does not go unnoticed! You are the reason America Needs Cheerleaders!