Cheerleaders Bring Cheer to Nursing Home Residents

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I attend Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia, where I am a member of the varsity cheerleading squad. This year I helped organize my team to participate in a community service project to remember September 11. Because I volunteer at Evercare Hospice & Palliative Care, my volunteer coordinator, Jen Jackson suggested my team decorate flower pots to give to nursing home residents at Sunrise Senior Living Center in Leesburg, Virginia. I talked to my team and coach, and they thought it was a great idea.

My mother, also a volunteer with Evercare Hospice & Palliative Care, helped me organize the decorating party at our house after a practice. We painted flower pots and had snacks and pizza that Ms. Jackson brought for us. We designed very unique pots and had a great time bonding as a team while we decorated.

The following day, we delivered the pots to Sunrise. Ms. Jackson brought potting soil and mums for us to plant in the pots. We each paired with a resident who wanted a pot and helped the resident plant mums in it. They were so excited and appreciative. They coveted their pots like they were prized possessions, making sure they held them or knew exactly where they had been placed so they wouldn’t lose them.

While we waited for more potting soil, we treated the residents to some cheers. They clapped and held up “OK” signs to show us how much they enjoyed our spirit. It made me feel that our team had done something special. It’s easy to get so focused on everything going on in high school and on our squad as we prepare for competitions this year. It’s nice to remember we are part of a bigger community that can benefit from our energy and enthusiasm as much as our school does.

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