Panthers cheer squad volunteer gives special needs cheerleaders fitness, fun and friendship

Teen volunteer helps cherr squad every week

FORT COLLINS - 7Everyday Hero Rachel Schneider helps coach a special needs cheer squad when she is not in high school.

The 15-year-old varsity cheerleader at Fossil Ridge High School uses her cheer skills to help at the Cheer and Dance Connection.

The group has several competitive and performance cheer squads. But for Schneider, the Panthers are the favorite.

"I just love them so much.  They are among my favorite people in the world," said Schneider.

"The Panthers are our special needs squad.  They are who the Cheer and Dance Connection are all about," said Vel Green, Director, Cheer and Dance Connection.

The Panthers have around 25 members, who range in age from four to twenty.

They perform throughout Fort Collins at schools, parades, and Special Olympics events. Some of their success is thanks to volunteers, like Schneider.

"Rachel has been a godsend. She just applies herself 110 percent and we just cannot say thank you enough to her," said Green.

Members of the Panthers agree. Here is what one little girl told us: "She is a great coach. She is amazing. She helps out on everything."

And Schneider helps every week despite her active high school schedule.

"Just try to volunteer.  It is amazing. I love it.  I have been volunteering my whole life, doing service my whole life.  And it makes you a better person.  It's just amazing," said Schneider.

To learn more about The Cheer and Dance Connection of Fort Collins go to www.thecheeranddanceconnection.info

To learn more about Special Olympics go to www.specialolympicsco.org

To nominate an outstanding volunteer in your life and read about more of our great volunteers, visit our 7Everyday Hero section.

Follow 7Everyday Hero anchor Mitch Jelniker on Facebook andTwitter.

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