In 2008, we experienced a string of small miracles and large transformations in our Iowa town after we formed our own high-school based cheerleading squad that includes children with disabilities. Nine seasons later, twelve girls with disabilities from autism to Down Syndrome continue to radiate joy and confidence as part of the "Spartan Sparkles" cheerleading squad at Pleasant Valley High School. The Sparkles team is completely youth-led, youth-staffed, and youth-driven, and is fully integrated into the high school sports program. During the season, the Sparkles cheer as one team with the varsity cheerleaders at game time to packed crowds and standing ovations!
Soon, we heard from other students who were likewise drawn to the idea of starting a team like the Sparkles. We realized that, with the necessary support, students nationwide could start their own inclusive teams. The task of starting your own team may seem intimidating. That's why we created "The Sparkle Effect." Here's how it works: On this website you will find a downloadable "Quick-Start" Kit. The kit includes a sample letter you can use to get your school administrators on board, an 11-step model for starting your own team, a sample promotional flyer, fundraising ideas, tips for successful practices, and so much more! Videos of our teams in action and a facebook page for answering questions and trouble-shooting issues complete the picture by providing you with inspiration and advice. The result: any student in the country interested in starting a Sparkle Effect team will have the necessary tools.
To date, the Sparkle Effect has generated 96 inclusive teams from coast to coast!
If you're considering starting your own Sparkle Effect team, check out our uniform grant program and free on-site training! We have partnered with Varsity Spirit Inc. -- the most successful and esteemed cheerleading uniform company in the world -- to provide uniform grants worth $1,000 to qualifying teams. We also travel nationwide to provide FREE on site training to new teams. The personalized training gives teams the benefit of our experience and the confidence to get started.
We invite you to join the movement that is changing game night in America!