The Sparkle Effect

The Problem

Prior to the creation of the Sparkles program, our community offered extremely limited opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in sports. One night each year, local cheerleaders in our community gathered to sponsor a cheerleading clinic for students with disabilities. Once the evening was over, so was the cheerleading experience for those students. Our decision to help create and coach the Sparkles squad stemmed from our desire to stay connected to students with disabilities and to offer them a meaningful opportunity to participate in high-school sports, and the socialization inherent in sports, alongside their typically-developing peers. After seeing the positive effect the Sparkles had on our community, I created The Sparkle Effect to inspire, generate, and tangibly support the creation of squads like the Sparkles in high schools across the nation.

Plan of Action

The Sparkle Effect recently created a grant program to pay for uniforms and equipment costs for newly developing Sparkle Effect squads. With massive nationwide school budget cuts, providing funding to new squads is critical. We are also expanding our website to include an interactive online forum where cheerleaders on these squads across the country can be in constant communication with one another, to provide encouragement and advice and to trouble-shoot challenges that may arise. Throughout the next several months, I will continue to spread the word about this life-altering program, focusing primarily on national disabilities support groups. Finally, I am devoting my summer to traveling across the country to provide hands-on training to new peer coaches.

Project Updates

The Sparkle Effect continues to grow! We have squads popping up all over the country, including squads in California, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, and Tennesee! To date, in conjunction with Varsity, Inc., we have provided free uniforms to nine of these squads and provided free on-site training as well! Do Something has been a key partner in helping us to get the word out. Do Something has also provided us with critical funding so that we can continue to tangibly support the new squads that are forming. Thanks Do Something for helping us to do something!

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