Cheerleaders help the community by volunteering at nursing home


Grace Kroner

Placing a bingo chip on a resident’s card, sophomore Pryce Ware smiles at the woman’s reaction to winning a number. The varsity cheer squad volunteers at Delmar Gardens every Wednesday night to help the residents play bingo. “It was really good to have conversations with the residents,” Ware said. “They told us that when we come it makes their days, and that throughout the week they talk about how much they enjoy it.”

With stunts, flips and synchronized cheers, the cheerleading squad brings excitement and enthusiasm to sporting events across the school, but for the varsity squad, cheer does not stop at the sidelines.

Every Wednesday night, a group of cheerleaders volunteers at Delmar Gardens Nursing Home’s weekly bingo night. Team members pass out bingo cards, help residents place their chips and award winners with prizes.

I sat next to a lady who was in a wheelchair and I helped her put the chips on her card as the numbers were called,” sophomore Martha Wait said. “It was really funny because she would get really excited whenever they called one of her numbers and she would get a little upset when they didn’t.”

For the cheerleaders, giving back to the community is just as important as games and practices.

“It’s a bonding experience with your team because you get to spend time with the people on the team outside of practice,” junior Grace Kroner said. “You get to help these people who are lonely and don’t have anyone to talk to. It feels really good to help them.”

Helping the community in this way has become an uplifting experience for the team that helps build relationships between team members that could only be found outside of a practice.

“The visits help our team on a more personal level right now,” varsity cheerleading coach Kelly Martin said. “Instead of seeing each other at school or practice, our athletes spend time together wheeling an elderly resident back to their room after bingo. It’s a great bonding and growth experience.”

Athletes like Wait believe that community outreach is an important concept for any team to focus on.

“It’s important for sports teams to give back to the community because it shows that they are involved with the public,” Wait said. “The community supports the school a lot so it’s important for the students to show their presence and show that they’re willing to help out.”

By supporting the community, the cheerleaders are able to provide company for the residents.

“Some people feel like passing out dimes [is] a waste of time, but if the cheerleader is sitting next to a resident, they definitely have more fun,” Wait said. “I think for most of the residents it means a lot to them to see new faces and to see that people besides the staff care about them.