Faith-based cheer program ran by volunteers builds confidence through cheerleading

Volunteer gives kids something to cheer about

DENVER - This week's 7Everyday Hero is helping young people build their self confidence.

Her dedication has kids jumping for joy. Jen England is a volunteer at Youth Alive Cheer Program.

"Cheerleading was a huge help for me through high school," said England, now age 23.

"We use the motto: Building leaders through cheer and faith," said Amanda Dauzat, Director of Youth Alive Cheer Program.

Youth Alive is a faith-based non-profit that reaches out to economically challenged children. And for a nominal fee those kids get to learn the sport of cheerleading and a whole lot more.

"I was at risk growing up and cheer leading saved my life. It is what kept me in school and it is how I came to faith so I am just trying to give back to the community in that way," said Dauzat.

"I have seen them become more spiritual, more kind to each other, and take a stronger sense of pride in themselves as well," said England.

Youth Alive has an all-volunteer staff. But no one has given as much time as England. She has been here every week for four years.

"My (high school) coach at the time was a huge mentor for me and still is, and I wanted to be that for them," said England.

"She is all about building relationships with the kids," said Dauzat.

England's only reward is watching the girls grow not just as cheer leaders, but as people.

"I concentrate more on cheerleading instead of getting into other trouble that I could be getting myself into," said participant Carmen Cecenas.

"She (England) is a very special girl and she has helped them out a lot with any kind of stunt, anything they have needed help with.  She is willing to go that extra mile for them," said Vanessa Martinez, mother of two girls in the program.

England's positive influence will be felt for generations, which is certainly something to cheer about.

To learn more about Youth Alive Cheer Program go to www.youthalivecheer.com

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