ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Cheerleading isn't a sport for the Albany Elite Lady Paws...It's more than just that. It's a means for developing girls into young women. That seed is planted in the gym, but it's watered and nurtured out in the community.
This morning around 80 girls of the Albany Elite Lady Paws marched through neighborhoods to ask the Albany community how the New Seasons church can help them.
This event comes just a week following the girls domination at a national Jam Brands tournament in Jacksonville.
"Our 18 and 14 both left with first place," said cheer coach O'Tessa Robinson. "And our 12 and under left with second place. We also got a Grand champion bid for our 18 and under to the Super Nationals."
Winning isn't foreign to the Lady Paws who have national tournament victories. But neither is lending a helping hand to the community that has also been there for them.
"So we do community service and we do cheer," said Robinson. "And we try to succeed at both."
"Pairing up with New Seasons," said cheerleader Caitlyn Raven. "They didn't have to let us use their gym to practice, but they do anyway. So we feel like we should give back to the community and let them know that we are thankful for everything they do for us."
"They're learning early," said Robinson. "Why do I need to give back? and then when we don't have a community service, maybe for that month, they're wondering, okay, what can I do now?"
The team is comprised of girls from kindergarten to 12th grade. Raven is on the 18 and under team...she says people who think competitive cheer isn't a sports are out of their minds.
"We know everything we've been through. all the yelling from the coaches. Everything we have to deal with, balancing school work and other activities that we like to do. And we still make sure this is our main goal in our life."
And through their unified efforts, the Lady Paws bond continues to grow.
"Everybody loves each other exactly the same," said Raven. "Not related or related. It doesn't matter. Because God brought us all here together."