From the looks of the hit show, "Glee," high school cheerleaders aren't always the nicest bunch. But if 2011 Do Something Award winner Sarah Cronk and her Sparkles have their way, the snotty Jane Lynch crew may be on the outs at schools across the country...
At age 15, Sarah Cronk saw the positive effects of inclusion when her autistic brother was befriended by a popular upperclassman. Taking note, the cheerleader started the "Spartan Sparkles," a cheerleading troupe that included young men and women with disabilities. In just three years, Cronk's been able to help build more than 30 Sparkle Effect offshoots around the country and has been featured on "Oprah," in People magazine and on MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew." No big deal, right?
On the night before her trek to Whitman College to start her freshman year, I got some tips on how to follow your passion and build an organization:
On getting creative without resources:
"Having no money and no way to get the word out was a big stumbling block, but it forced me to get creative. I started reaching out to websites and cheer corporations, asking for press and linkbacks, and within a couple weeks we started getting calls. And after a few of those, we started blowing up."
On knowing you can make a difference:
"You've gotta adopt an unwavering belief that you can make a difference by following your passion. And don't be afraid to ask adults for help. Adults are awesome and want you to succeed, so use them! And don't lose sight of the big picture, take every step individually and you'll get there."
On just doing something:
"Building on your passion isn't impossible. It's totally possible. You don't need a lot of money, or a car or even a lot of adult involvement and that's what makes Do Something special. You can get involved in their Teens for Jeans campaign, or start your own and get a $500 jumpstart."
Cronk's mantra? "I got this!" If you feel the same way, head to Do Something for support and get your good on.