This season, Alliyah and her teammates have been challenged like never before.
“You hear those stereotypes of what an NFL cheerleader is, but you never really hear how they impact the community,” she said. “People know we do appearances and think, ‘Oh, they show up and sign posters.’ No. We’re doing something bigger and better.”
This season they have an opportunity like never before – to make a lasting impact in their community through their own outreach projects.
“If you have something that you’re really passionate about, you have the opportunity to make it come alive through Colts Cheer.”
For Alliyah, that passion is wellness.
“When I graduated from school, I was in fitness and exercise science. I switched gears and now I’m in HR. But I’m still passionate about fitness and health. I still want to utilize that passion that I have.”
But she’s realistic about the challenges that stand in the way.
“I always think that to make healthy lifestyle changes, it starts at home. It’s hard for kids to make those changes at home if the parents aren’t helping with that.”
She wants to help kids and parents learn how to make healthy changes together.
“I chose the Boys and Girls Club and my idea is to have a cooking class with their parent or guardian so they can both learn meals at the same time,” she said. “They’re simple changes. It’s not a new diet or anything. It’s something you eat on the regular, just tweaking it a little bit and it becomes something healthy.”
For Alliyah, it goes back to her childhood and spending time with her mom.
“When I was younger, I just loved to watch my mom cook and be in the kitchen with her. I feel like it would be fun for the parent and the kids to be together and learning. If no one teaches you, you will never know. And you have to eat every single day, so you have to know how to cook.”
With Indiana facing an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, it’s a way to change families and communities forever – one step at a time and one generation at a time.
“If you teach them, then they’re able to teach other people who will be able to instruct their own families and pass it down and just spread the news all over.”
Hearing about the causes her cheer sisters are passionate about has helped Alliyah form new and closer bonds with her teammates.
“I feel like people are able to build different connections with one another just because of the things you’re passionate about that you didn’t know someone else was passionate about as well.”
And to be able to take those passions and put them to work in their community is something they don’t take for granted.
“For our team to have the opportunity to do something and really impact the community, it’s so dear, so special to all of us. It’s really great to be part of this organization.”