Sending cheer to Joplin
By Sarah Campbell
MT. ULLA — More than two dozen girls gathered Monday evening to wrapped up boxes of cheer to send to Joplin, Mo.
The junior varsity and varsity cheerleading squads from West Rowan High School stuffed toiletries, feminine products and candies into shoeboxes to send to sister squads at Joplin High School.
“I think it’s a great thing for us to do,” Andie Myers, captain of West’s JV squad, said. “It makes me feel really good to know that I can be part of this.”
Varsity squad member BreAnna Griffin said aftering seeing the “heartbreaking” footage of tornado damage in Joplin she was more than willing to lend a hand.
“I think most of us just want to be there for them,” she said. “I’ve never seen our team come together like this.”
Griffin said of the 28 girls on the Joplin squads, six of them lost everything.
“We are completely aware that there are more than just these girls that are in desperate need of housing and necessities, but we are cheerleaders,” she said in a letter to the community. “Cheerleaders are people who are supposed to lift the spirits of others.
“Now, the spirits of these cheerleaders are not in the best of shape and we want to do any and everything we can to help them.”
Varsity captain Alina Baugh said she didn’t know much about the damage at first, but after doing some research she knew the Joplin cheerleaders needed their help.
“This really inspires me to go out and do more stuff because i know that if I was in their position I would want someone to help me out,” she said.
Inside each box is a personal note with contact information for one of the West Rowan girls.
“I think it’s going to be fun to have a relationship with someone from another state,” Baugh said.
And the girls won’t stop helping after the care packages are shipped off. Griffin said they’ll continue to send packages throughout the summer and into the school year.
“This shipment is really just to stock them up for cheer camp on June 17,” co-coach Jennifer Stamp said. “These are small items that they won’t have to go and purchase.”
Stamp said she got the idea to “adopt” the Joplin squads online after seeing where another squad had adopted a team in Alabama. She contacted a friend in Missouri and the project took off from there.
Stamp and co-coach Erin Shelton pitched the idea to the West squads and they began gathering items to send.
“They were very, very excited,” Stamp said.
Griffin and Baugh are hoping to raise enough money to go visit their sister squad in Joplin.
“It’s hard to supply somebody with something if you don’t know that person,” she said. “We’re going to contact the Red Cross to see if we can help with the rebuilding.”
Stamp said she hopes the project will transform the girls into leaders and community servants.
“We really want the girls to reach further than themselves,” she said.
Shelton said it’s a blessing to be able to reach out to the Joplin squads.
“I think this will be a life lesson for the girls,” she said. “We don’t realized how fortunate we are until we see others in need.”
Shelton also hopes the girls will realize the world doesn’t stop at the boundaries of Rowan County.
“Sometimes as a teenager things feel all consuming,” she said. ‘This is a humbling experience for them to realize that some people have it way worse.”
Contact reporter Sarah campbell at 704-797-7683.
The West Rowan cheerleading squads will continue to take up collections and monetary donations for the squads in Joplin, Mo.
Those willing to contribute can visit Cheers of Hope on Facebook or contact Erin Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jennifer Stamp at email@example.com.