Dec. 16, 2009
Cullowhee, N.C. - Helping provide a festive atmosphere at all Western Carolina University home events and spreading school spirit is just part of the duties performed by the Catamount Cheerleading squad. This group, like many of WCU's student-athletes, is also very active with service to the surrounding community.
The Catamount Cheerleaders took part in several community service projects during the fall semester, continuing with helping spread holiday cheer to several groups.
Back in October, the Catamount Cheerleaders participated in the 10th annual "Smoky Streak" 5K / 10K run which weaved its way around the banks of the picturesque Tuckaseegee River in Jackson County. Proceeds from the fundraising race go to support digital mammography services at WestCare Health System.
Showing their softer side, the Catamount Cheerleaders collected 74 teddy bears that were donated to the Lincoln County Child Advocacy Group. The loveable, plush stuffed animals were distributed by the group to abused children in the greater Lincoln County area.
In keeping with the spirit of giving, the cheerleaders took part in a pair of special service projects heading towards the holiday season.
First, the student-athletes volunteered with the "Senior Christmas Box" project, which works in correlation with assistant coach Eddie Wells duties with Mountain Projects. The squad collected non-perishable items and stuffed 11 different boxes full of items that will be delivered to senior citizens in the surrounding community.
The Catamount cheerleaders also adopted 16 children through "Head Start" this holiday season. For each child, the team purchased clothes, shoes, toys, and other items for the kids to have this Christmas. Lynn Stanberry, a WCU graduate, and O'Malley's of Sylva sponsored the WCU Cheer "wrapping party," providing dinner for the squad while they wrapped the gifts for the less fortunate children.
"Community service is very important to our Western Carolina cheerleading family," said head cheerleading coach, Kim Cherry-Beck, who was a four-year letter-winner during her time at WCU. "We love the opportunity to get out in our community and give back. In the end, our team gets out of these experiences far more than it gives and I'm very proud of the way they step up with each opportunity."