MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Varsity Spirit, the driving force in cheerleading and dance, embraced another year of robust fundraising and community involvement in 2016. Varsity Spirit promotes giving back and community involvement through a wide variety of programs and provides cheer and dance teams and coaches opportunities to get involved and give back to their local communities. Notably, the company's fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®, which is also based in Memphis, now totals more than $4 million since 2011.
The Team Up for St. Jude Spirited by Varsity letter writing campaign harnesses the giving power of 350,000 teens attending annual cheer and dance camps, with each attendee writing letters asking their friends and family to donate to St. Jude. Varsity Spirit also inspires giving through the St. Jude Game Day campaign, urging schools across the country to show their spirit and turn their football or basketball games into fundraising opportunities.
"Varsity Spirit is incredibly proud of the cheerleaders and dancers that get involved in and give back to their communities," said Varsity Brands Founder and Chairman Jeff Webb. "Their remarkable efforts and hours of volunteering illustrate the power they have to make a difference in the lives of others. Varsity Spirit is honored to motivate and engage our athletes and coaches on behalf of causes like St. Jude and many others."
In September, Varsity Spirit announced that it had further bolstered its commitment to inclusiveness by expanding its support of The Sparkle Effect. Varsity Spirit signed on as the official training sponsor and pledged $50,000 to the national nonprofit, which helps schools create and train cheerleading and dance teams that bring together students with and without disabilities. Since its founding in 2009, The Sparkle Effect has trained teams at nearly 200 schools in 29 states and is the only program of its kind to provide training free of cost to participants.
Varsity Spirit launched National School Spirit Day in 2009 as a way to encourage cheerleaders and dancers to participate in community service projects. It has since become the kickoff of the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards, which gave more than $50,000 to schools across the country in 2016, recognizing students, athletes, faculty and administrators who strive to foster school pride, student engagement and community spirit. A recent study by Varsity Brands revealed that students with higher levels of spirit perform better academically, are more engaged and involved, and feel more connected to their school and community.
The company is also a proud supporter of breast cancer research. Varsity Spirit donated $15,000 to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and was their Finish Line sponsor. The donation included proceeds from their "Let's Go Pink" line of pink accessories and uniforms, which has raised more than $60,000 for the American Cancer Society in four years.
About Varsity Spirit
Memphis-based Varsity Spirit has been a driving force behind cheerleading's dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today, and the leading global source for all things cheerleading and dance. A division of Varsity Brands, Varsity Spirit is a leader in uniform innovation and educational camps, clinics and competitions, impacting nearly a million athletes each year. Focused on safety, entertainment and traditional school leadership, Varsity Spirit's 5,000 employees have been helping raise cheerleading's influence and profile since 1974. For more information about Varsity Spirit or Varsity Brands, please visit www.varsity.com or www.varsitybrands.com.
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SOURCE Varsity Spirit