South Side Cheer Team Empowers Young Athletes Igniting Confidence and Sisterhood

Published 09/18/2023, 3:53 PM EDT

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A truly remarkable incident has marked the heart of West Englewood. This is a story that transcends the boundaries of traditional cheerleading and redefines what it means to be an athlete. And it is also a testament to the transformative power of mentorship, and the unwavering belief in the potential of young minds.

In a world often marked by divisions, Coach Tolar and her team are breaking barriers and fostering connections. From their home base in Englewood, they have paved their way toward success with determination and empowerment. Let’s witness the story of sisterhood.

Cheerleading team breaking barriers and building dreams

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Cheers has been resonating far beyond the field for the Chicago KAOS Bulldogs Cheer Team. The South Side cheer team is more than just a group of cheerleaders. It’s a collective of young learners ranging from 4 to 18 years old, bound together by the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.

The team won three consecutive national titles in May. KAOS has been under the umbrella of Stacy Tolar, who co-founded the team. KAOS stands for Keeping Adolescents Off the Streets.

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Tolar shared about his years of experiences in the field as she said, “I’ve seen them go from quiet, shy, not talking to now graduating with law degrees, with coaching themselves…”

Tolar teaches life skills to the young girls. The girls are provided with academic support and mentorship. The South Side Cheer Team is a program that teaches self-worth and togetherness.

“I really push sisterhood. I really push togetherness.”, says Coach Tolar. She further added, “We have a lot of youth that come from low-income to middle-income. We have youth that never did sports. We also have youth that has never traveled outside of Chicago”.

Coach’s winning formula to empower the youth

Coach Tolar has been trying her best to concentrate on building the characters of the young girls. For the girls, Tolar is nothing less than a guiding force.

A 13-year-old member of the cheer team, Siren Sargent, said about their coach, “She doesn’t see us as little kids. She sees us as athletes and as people, and she understands that every day might not be a good day, and she does give us grace”

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“You can learn about leadership, and you can also make new friends. That’s fun”, said another 10-year-old girl out of the 35 athletes, Amari Moore from Englewood.

9-year-old Imani Williams from Hammond, who has been cheering for three years, shared, “She helps me a lot. If I try to give up, she wouldn’t let me give up”.

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Their new way of rethinking has won them applause beyond the stage of competition. Their team meets at their home base thrice a week and on weekends for their practice sessions. Beyond the glittering trophies, this team represents a beacon of hope, inspiring not only their peers but everyone who witnesses their remarkable journey.

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Written by:

Disita Sikdar

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Disita Sikdar is a Viral Sports Moments writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed her bachelor's degree in English from Bhawanipur Education Society College affiliated under the University of Calcutta, she will soon be stepping towards pursuing her masters in English. She has experience working as a content creator and social media manager previously.
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Edited by:

Arnima Shukla