It was only a few days, but for cheerleader Alyssa Edwards it seemed like years that she had known the little girl.
“The bond we made was life changing,” said Edwards. “I was able to reach out and be a part of her life for a short time. I was blessed to be a blessing to her.”
Over the summer, the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy high school football team hosted their second sports camp for foster kids. This year the cheerleading team was involved – an opportunity that head coach Tiffany Brown took.
“It was a good way for the girls to get out into the community and disciple and reach out to the girls,” said Brown. “It was an opportunity for not just the boys to be mentored to but the girls too.”
The camp, which was led by the high school cheerleaders and seen by Brown, taught the girls the fundamentals of cheerleading stunts, stretching and dance routines. Also included was a time set aside for devotions where the cheerleaders and Brown spoke on the importance of being yourself and not worrying what other people think of you.
“That’s what I love here,” said Brown. “It’s a great family Christian atmosphere and you always feel like you’re at home all the time. You always feel welcomed.”
Wanting to go beyond just helping at the camp, a few of the cheerleaders came up with the idea to write letters to the foster girls who came. One of those cheerleaders was Alyssa Edwards, a junior, who grew close with one of the 5-year-old foster girls at the foster camp.
“I got really close with her and it was really hard for me to see her leave after the camp,” said Edwards. “These kids come in and have such smiles on their faces and then afterwards have to go back to group homes which can be hard.”
The foster girls came from TMM Family Services, which began its service to the community in 1974. One of the programs that TMM offers is fostering children who have been removed from their homes. Their mission is to serve children and families with a variety of helpful resources.
With the Christmas holiday now in full swing, the cheerleaders are hoping to make it down to the foster care home and visit with the girls and make cookies.
“We hope that we can go down there and just make their day,” said Edwards. “Hopefully we’ll see some of the girls that we helped at the foster camp.”