Backhand springs, stunts and school spirit are not the only talents of the Neshaminy High School cheerleading team. The team is also skilled and passionate about helping in their community.
Although the team’s coach Mary Hart said she and the girls do their community service to help others and don’t expect anything in return, their work has literally paid off.
The organizations running the national competition the varsity and junior varsity teams will compete in March have awarded the program with a monetary prize based solely on their community service.
The monetary award is worth up to $10,000, Hart said, noting that it goes toward the team’s trip to the national competition. Since the team is so large, she said, the cheer program will probably receive all of that money.
Throughout the team’s season, which spans from the summer until March, Hart said they participate and organize a variety of community service initiatives.
Just a few weeks ago, the team held a Thanksgiving food drive and donate the food to Penndel food bank. The team also hosts a money donation drive for Christmas. They use the money collected to buy Christmas presents for two needy families within the school district, Hart said.
Each year, the team travels into Philadelphia during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. They stand along the walking route and cheer on the walkers during the last day of the event.
In addition, they volunteer at Alex’s Lemonade Stand and, in March, they will volunteer at the Philabundance warehouse where they will pack food and get it ready to be shipped, Hart said.
This past baseball season, the Neshaminy Cheerleading Team went to a Phillies’ game where they collected recyclables during the game (Phillies Red Goes Green).
Every summer, the cheerleading program also hosts an elementary school clinic to teach local children some of their dances and cheers.
“I never really realized it was that much because we just always do it,” Hart told Patch.
She said the team “squeezes” in their community service when they don’t have games to cheer at or practice, usually Saturday mornings or a night they have off.
“It just kind of seems normal at this point,” Hart said of the community service.
The competition, which is hosted by AmeriCheer and Eastern Cheer Company, is being held in Disney World in Florida. The organizations running it hosted the “Dreams come true, Rewards for you,” which based solely on community service.
To participate in the community service contest, Hart had to submit a video of photos of all of the team’s community service work. Watch the video above.