Before a state Cheer Leadership camp in July, squads across the state of Washington were encouraged to collect items for “cheer up” bags to be distributed in the community. The Sehome High School cheer team collected items throughout the summer and filled a large box with soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, lip balm, granola bars and fruit snacks, and other items. During the summer camp, the team put together thoughtful bags and added personal messages of encouragement in each. “Stay strong!” was a recurring note.
The team brought these back to Bellingham and discussed who in our community might benefit from receiving these comfort bags and decided to give them to families who are homeless in Bellingham schools.
The team reached out to the Homeless Support Program in Bellingham Public Schools and presented the bags to Roxana Parise and Sarah Simpson, the homeless support coordinators. When the cheer team met with them, Parise and Simpson spent a few minutes talking about homeless support in the district. They shared that at the end of last school year, the district had 559 students who were living without a home and that nearly 200 of them were unaccompanied youth — students living on their own without parents/guardians. They told the team these comfort/cheer bags would be given to these particular students who live on their own and need such supplies.
“The cheerleaders and I hope these students in our community can find comfort in the supplies provided,” says team coach Beth Kealy. “Community outreach is something important to continue. Thank you for allowing us to serve the community in this way.”