My brothers were wrestlers from the time I was in grade school until college. I attended so many meets and tournaments that I pretty much knew everything from scoring to every wrestling cheer in the region. Naturally, when I hit high school, I would be attending the meets to cheer for my brothers so it made sense that I wanted to be a cheerleader for the team.
Being a wrestling cheerleader is not glamorous and for the prior few years, was mainly comprised of girlfriends of the varsity wrestlers. But the year that I tried out, there weren’t any girls clamoring for the spots. Geez, how hard is it to sit alongside the mat, pound your hands and holler (I mean cheer.) I knew the sport well and was attending the meets anyway to watch my brothers. I figured I was a shoe-in – after all, I knew all the cheers and nobody else really wanted to do it. So I tried out…
But I didn’t make it. Girls who wanted to be cheerleaders but didn’t make the cut for basketball were given the spots… They were, you know, the stereotypical cheerleader types. But I didn’t make it. Want to guess what happened? Their coach came to me and asked me to teach them all the cheers. Sigh. So I did. You know, be a good sport for the sake of the team. It was devastating both to my self-esteem and my attitude.
Recently, however, I have been watching something totally different. Cheerleaders who are breaking the mold. High school cheerleaders, Sarah Herr and Sarah Cronk took their energies and attitudes and created the Spartan Sparkles cheerleading squad. It’s not just any team; it’s comprised of girls with special needs. Young girls who probably never thought a dream of cheering in front of a crowd was even reachable. This extraordinary squad has caught the eye of several people, including Oprah. The team and it’s founders were recently featured on Oprah’s show for their efforts. They also created The Sparkle Effect to help others follow in their tracks. While some of these young girls have battled self-esteem issues, this special team has created confidence for everyone involved.
When I was invited to help promote The Dove Self Esteem Fund, the Sparkles team is the first thing that came to mind. An inspiring tale of how small things can help foster positive self esteem. The Dove Self Esteem Fund is one of the many outreach programs that Dove has created through their Campaign for Real Beauty website. The site offers self-esteem tips and information for young girls along with various ways to get involved. For example, from in December 2009, for each Dove UPC logged, they donated $1 to self esteem programs. Participants simply logged onto their site, choose which program you want to support then enter a Dove UPC. That’s it. It’s that easy. And it’s for a good cause.
So many of us grew up with self-esteem issues but there are so many things that can be done to combat it. Make a positive difference. Although I’ve always mentioned in my reviews whether I’ve been compensated, this one is a bit different. The firm representing this campaign for Dove offered me a nice gift pack for participating in this campaign. So in the interest of helping someone else feel more positive, I have chosen that path. Other than some warm-fuzzy feelings, I didn’t receive any compensation for sharing this information. So here’s your chance to make a positive difference.
Publisher note: Post was updated to remove links and details about the outdated promotion. The story of The Sparkle Effect is still one we want to share and support so we didn’t want to delete it all together!