Back To School. Back To Cool.
I see all of the Back-To-School Facebook Pictures and remember fondly the back-to-school moments of the kids when they were younger. I was just contacted by People Magazine for a follow-up to their story on The Sparkles Cheerleading squad from 10 years ago. 10 years already!
It seems like yesterday for me that Katie became one special cheerleader, thanks to the vision of two PV Varsity Cheerleaders, Sarah Cronk and Sarah Herr. Through their decision to lend a hand, and some of their social cred to some different girls who, like them, wanted to perform to their highest level, they changed the face of High School across the Midwest and the world.
Katie benefitted immensely from the friendship and camaraderie afforded her by these girls who really had no idea the scope of their undertaking. Well, maybe it was just me who had no idea, as Sarah Cronk obviously knew not only the potential of these girls to help each other, but also that this small effort from a cheer squad in Iowa could come a change in attitude that could last and grow. I'm very thankful for her vision.
Katie blossomed from her experience, that is well-documented. But as a parent, sometimes we too are lost. I feel like sometimes Katie's journey through the Sparkles, and later the Shining Stars teams, mirrored my own through the pitfalls of isolation that being a parent of a special child can bring.
As Katie began to reach out beyond her own false limitations, Tree and I also grew to know other families we never may have had the honor of befriending. The doors that Katie opened allowed us to travel though as well. And we are better parents because of the opportunity afforded to us through the Sparkle Effect.
And as I thank them, and remember Katie and Sarah together, I think the 'Effect' of the Sparkle Effect might not only have to be on the sidelines of High School Sporting events. Or structured formally through any High School Activity.
What if we were all able to reach out to some folks we might not otherwise relate to? And what if by doing so we not only inspired others to do the same, but became better people because of it? The start of the school year might just be the perfect time to do it, no?
The Sparkle Effect has taught me many lessons, and I hope to never stop learning them.