It is truly amazing how our country comes together when natural disaster hits. We forget about all of the things that divide us and we unite as one to support one another. As the families of Southeast Texas and Florida are faced with devastating destruction and a complete rebuild of their lives, we all are wondering just how we can help. The American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/) and The Salvation Army (http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/) are two great places to start. In the meantime, below are some ways that you can give back to your community and those in need immediately and throughout your cheer and dance season.
COIN COLLECTION DRIVE – “Let’s Make a CHANGE”
As a team, you could hold a coin drive at your school. Collect empty gallons of milk and take pictures of five of the most popular teachers or administrators on campus and see which teacher collects the most money. You can display them during all of the lunch periods. The winning teacher could have to perform at the next pep rally or get a pie in the face at the next school event. Something fun! But make sure you get the permission of each teacher and be sure everyone knows that their donations are going to help the victims of the natural disaster.
TOILETRIES DRIVE – “Blessings Bags”
This could be a great team building activity. Make a list of toiletries and head to the dollar store and purchase travel items such as: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, Kleenex and anything else you want to include. Each squad could be responsible for buying a collection of one item. Bring all your items to practice and spend one morning/afternoon assembling gallon-sized Ziploc baggies (dollar store brand). Including a motivational quote or poem could be an added bonus. Then drop those baggies off at the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross.
YOUR LOCAL FOOD BANK – “Giving is Winning”
There are so many opportunities at your local food banks. From sorting and stocking food to serving meals to families in need. The food banks are always happy to have volunteers and the people you are helping love to see a smiling face. Contact your local food bank for available volunteer needs.
NURSING HOME PERFORMANCES
I don’t think there is a better way to put a smile on someone’s face than through a performance or two. Senior citizens LOVE visitors and will love your team coming to visit and perform. If you are a dance team, maybe you can do a couple of different routines as a practice for competition season. If you are cheerleaders, bring all of your squads to perform and make up a chant special just for the nursing home residents. You will be SURE to make their day.
SALVATION ARMY – “Be an Angel”
Most people have seen the Salvation Army Angel Trees as they go up right after Thanksgiving in most shopping malls. Being able to adopt and angel and gift a child with a present for Christmas is pretty special and to be able to do it as a team or even as a school is really awesome. The Salvation Army also has a volunteer opportunity in the Fall where your team can stuff Red Bags in preparation for the Angel Tree event. It’s a great chance for your team to come together on the weekend and bond while helping others. Contact your local Salvation Army locations to see how your team or school can help.