What do spirit fingers and philanthropy have in common? Lindsay Miller of CHEER Colorado will tell you that they are one and the same. Cheer Colorado is a growing non-profit of adult volunteers who “stunt, have a passion to perform, raise spirits, and raise funds” for the LGBTQ community. After moving to Colorado from Seattle, Miller was inspired by her CHEER Seattle team to begin her very own squad right here, bringing a fresh new take on charity and cheer.
Of course, it’s wonderful to be fortunate enough to do what you love, but even more so, it’s a triumph to be able to help those in need while doing it. Miller knew that as an ally, she wanted to ensure she was able to help those in the LGBTQ community in need by raising funds, but also by having members of the community to interact and cheer with one another.
When first beginning her organization, Miller felt it important that her non-profit take a whole new approach to raising money and awareness. To her, it’s “charity through the lense of cheerleading.” Not only is the organization cheering for LGBTQ folks, but for ally involvement as well. CHEER Colorado made its first appearance at Denver PrideFest’s 2017 parade. Miller wanted to make sure that people, queer or not, were able to see that her nonprofit was coming to Colorado.
Over the past two years, Cheer Colorado has chosen a beneficiary to receive a large, single donation each year to help benefit its cause. This year, that beneficiary will be a program called Rainbow Alley, a program through The Center that creates a safe and brave space for members of the LGBTQ community and their allies ages 11 to 21. However, donation is not the only way CHEER gives back. They also take part in community events and allow audience members to interact with their shows. Though not a member of the community herself, Miller wants to make sure that the people on her squad and the people she is helping feel the power of cheer.
“My goal is to meet people where they are at currently and move one little step further.”
To Miller, CHEER Colorado isn’t only a non-profit but a way to create lasting friendships and impact the community in a new, fun way.
“I see friendships and bonds form from this squad that might have not happened, and when I see people post on social media, I get excited” she stated. “I’m like, LOOK! We did that! You’re friends because of CHEER!”
For Miller, performing and cheering at all sorts of events is wonderful, but the bonds formed are the cherry on top. She also makes sure her squad members are comfortable and happy by making sure they all have a little SPARK.
SPARK is an anagram for “Safety, Philanthropy, Accountability, Respectability, and Kindness.” These five core values of CHEER Colorado are what allow Miller to have fun cheering while also making sure herself and her squad members conduct themselves in a manner most befitting of a cheer squad.
Miller says, “Most people think we are on the sidelines of football games, but more often than not, we aren’t doing that.” With 29 volunteers and counting, miller says she has seen a “tremendous ripple effect” in her squad and the LGBTQ community, and it has increased the size and scope of the event they are able to do, garnering beneficiaries and accolades from the community and allies alike. With each performance, CHEER Colorado not only creates a bigger movement in the LGBTQ and ally community, but in the cheer community as well.
For the second time in a row, CHEER Colorado will take center stage at beach-themed Aurora Pride on August 3 from 1 to 2 p.m.
This special treat will be called “Spirit Fingers: Cheer and Workout Demo with CHEER Colorado.” It will include a demo of tricks and skills from CHEER as well as audience engagement.
CHEER hopes to open its doors to more people looking for a fun new way to give back to the community and create lasting relationships with the members on the squad. They are excited to bring an energetic and interactive performance to Aurora Pride, showcasing their talent and team. “We are as always, excited to extend the season of rainbows into Aurora.”
• For everything Aurora Pride for All 2019, check out Sentinel Colorado’s preview: https://ow.ly/DRfB30pgjOk
• Aurora’s Renaissance is in full bloom: https://ow.ly/bLpC30pgjVG
— ANGEL RIVERA, For The Sentinel