August Star Spotlight - Skylar
16-year-old Skylar from Massachusetts finds passion in helping others through coaching her favorite sport, cheerleading.
Image source: Canva
Skylar is a 16-year-old from Rockland High School who is truly passionate about helping others, especially through her outlet of assisting in coaching sports. Sponsors of the Future (SoF) is dedicated to educating the local community about the importance of inclusivity by supporting and empowering those with disabilities to be courageous, ambitious, independent, and, most importantly, happy. Those who take the time to assist these individuals while doing something they love to make sure they can have the same skills as others deserve to be recognized, which is why Skylar is the Star Spotlight for the month of August.
We asked Skylar some questions about her experience with helping kids who need guidance, and here are her answers:
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Skylar, I am 16 and have been doing cheerleading since I was in first grade. I started junior coaching when I was 12. I usually help with the younger elementary school teams, from 1st grade to 3rd grade. It’s something I have grown to love and made me realize how much I love helping others. I especially love being able to support the kids with disabilities. I do everything I can to make sure they are getting the same opportunities as the other kids on the team, and can grow their skills throughout the season.
2. What makes you happy?
I love seeing other people succeed. Being able to help others and watch them grow is amazing
3. What do you like to do? What are you passionate about?
Besides cheerleading, I enjoy spending time with my friends.
4. When you think about the future, what do you see yourself doing?
I still don’t know what I want my specific career to be, but helping with coaching has shown me how much I love working with kids, so I will probably focus on something with that.
5. What is your favorite part about helping others? How does it overall make you feel?
I love seeing the kids who really struggled and felt like they couldn’t figure things out gain confidence as their skills get better. Sometimes one of the kids on the team may have a disability that makes it slower for them to gain certain skills. They tend to compare themselves to their teammates, so I always try to make sure they focus on themselves and learning the skills at their own pace. Even if it takes longer, they can always work hard and progress their abilities. It’s so satisfying to see them do well, I love it.
6. How do you use your sport (cheerleading) to make a difference?
A lot of people assume that people who have struggles, or any disability, cannot succeed with cheerleading or that it’s too hard, but that is wrong. Being able to help with coaching athletes with disabilities such as autism has shown me that it just takes extra time and effort, but they can always be successful in their sport. With the right guidance, they can accomplish anything, so I try to tell people that and would love to spread that message more.
7. Who is your hero?
My mom. She does everything to help everyone around her and puts their happiness first. I try to be like her, especially when I’m working with kids.
8. How do you overcome your challenges? What steps do you take when you see other kids with challenges? Can you give examples?
A couple of years ago, there was a girl on the team who had autism. Sometimes she had trouble communicating what she was feeling or if she understood what we were asking her to do. I made sure to remain calm and always double-check with her to make sure she was on the same page as everyone else. It took extra time, but it overall helped her and she felt much better about being at practice. I always try to make sure I stay calm and take a step back during challenges, to make sure I have the full picture and am prepared to figure out what to do.
9. What has been your favorite moment from assisting with coaching so far?
So far, every team I have helped coach has gotten 1st pace at least one of their competitions. Seeing how excited the kids get, especially the ones who struggled in the beginning is always the best part of the year.
10. Are there any things you’d like to see improvements in your community/ school and others to help kids with challenges?
In general, I wish things were more inclusive. Sometimes kids get left out because of their disabilities, and it makes me upset.
11. What advice would you give to kids who want to start playing a sport, but are worried they will not be good enough?
Just go for it. The coaches and junior coaches should be willing to help every athlete, no matter what their skill level is.
12. Anything else you would like to add?
Be kind to everyone and trying helping others, it may be something you really enjoy.
Sponsors of the Future would like to give a massive thank you to Skylar for taking her time to talk to us, and for putting in the effort to help children succeed. . If you know someone who is making a difference in their community and deserves the spotlight, contact us here.