The Sparkle Effect is a non-profit organization based in Bettendorf, Iowa in the US. Its goal is to empower students to initiate inclusive school-based cheerleading and dance teams. To date, it has supported 180 teams, involving 3,600 youth.
Official Sparkle Effect teams have access to uniform grants and training. Most importantly, when they perform at school events, they are showcasing acceptance and diversity—impacting school culture. Schools have noted an increase in positive interactions among students after the initiation of a Sparkle Effect team.
Teams are student-led and student-driven and must be run out of a school, practicing twice per week and performing at a minimum of ten sporting events per year. The Sparkle Effect Quick-Start Guide includes 11 steps to creating an inclusive team, starting with forming a core group of cheerleaders/dancers and finding an adult advisor, and ending with the team “strutting [its] stuff” and promoting the program. It includes sample written materials as well as tips for running practices and fundraising.
To start a team or find out more about the Sparkle Effect, visit its website here. Watch a video about the team that started all, the Spartan Sparkles, and the Sparkle Effect from NBC News here. Find the Quick-Start Guide here.