Washington, D.C. (August 19, 2011)– Today, the American Association of People with Disabilities congratulates Sarah Cronk, winner of the 2011 Do Something award: a national award for excellence in social action. Sarah’s program—The Sparkle Effect—encourages teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in high-school cheerleading programs. Across the country and internationally, high school students are joining Sarah’s efforts to promote acceptance and diversity. The Sparkle Effect offers new cheerleading squads toolkits, grants for uniforms, and free, on-site training. To date, the nonprofit has generated 26 squads in 15 states and South Africa.
“Sarah Cronk exemplifies the young generation’s energy, passion, and commitment to people with disabilities,” said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello. “We applaud VH1, Do Something, and the award’s voters for giving Sarah and other young leaders the tools they need to do great work and a national platform to showcase it,” he added.
“The Do Something Award has provided The Sparkle Effect with the perfect platform from which to spread our simple message: when everyone cheers, everyone wins. Through our program, students with disabilities are gaining confidence, cheerleaders are learning and growing through mentoring others, and communities are opening up their minds and hearts to people of all abilities,” said Cronk. “I believe that, with help from The Do Something Award, The Sparkle Effect can easily reach into virtually every high school in the country. When it does, game night in America will never be the same,” she added.
* * *
The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.