Dec. 14, 2011
Cullowhee, N.C. - In addition to spreading Catamount spirit and pride throughout the fall and early winter months, the Western Carolina Catamount Cheerleaders have also been very active in the community. The squad helped with raising awareness of breast cancer, as well as with its annual holiday service projects to close 2011.
During the month of October, the Catamount Cheerleaders showed their support in the battle against breast cancer by again using pink pom poms at every WCU football game. The squad also got active by participating in the MedWest 13th Annual "Smoky Streak," which includes a 5-K and 10-K run and a 5-K walk to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer in October.
With the holiday season on everyone's mind, the cheerleading squad again reached out to the local community to lend a helping hand.
"We asked the team this year if they would like to help people in the community over the holidays and they decided to sponsor both children and senior citizens," said WCU assistant cheerleading coach Eddie Wells who helped spearhead the community service projects. "Working with Mountain Projects, I have seen a larger need this year than years past and it is incredible that our team chose to help those in need."
The Catamount Cheerleaders again assisted in the Senior Christmas Box Project which works to ensure that isolated senior citizens who likely would not have anything over Christmas receive a box. These Christmas boxes are packed and wrapped full of needed items such as food, soap, shampoo, cleaning supplies, etc., and are delivered to the seniors the week before Christmas.
The squad also helped sponsor children from the local Head Start program for the Christmas holiday including children from low-income families that needed a little assistance for their children over the holidays. Sponsoring a child includes buying a full outfit (pants, shirt, shoes, socks, etc.) and their favorite toy.
The team came together and wrapped each of the gifts during a gathering held at O'Malley's in Sylva, and Head Start will be delivering the wrapped gifts and goodies to the families this week.
"Lynn Stanberry and the staff at O'Malley's were once again so very gracious in allowing us to hold our `wrapping party' at the restaurant in Sylva," said Kim Cherry-Beck, WCU's head cheerleading coach. "We cannot thank them enough for their continued support of WCU athletics and Catamount cheerleading."
According to Wells, all told, the WCU cheerleaders helped sponsor a total of 28 children and 19 senior citizens.
"This year's number is significantly more than we have done in the past. It is great to have a team of high character student-athletes, and I am so proud they were able to make a positive impact for those that are less fortunate in our community," added Wells.