YOUNGSTOWN — Hundreds of cheerleaders and dancers jumped, cheered and danced their way to exceeding Zeta Tau Alpha sorority’s fund-raising goal.
The cheerleaders and dancers took part in ZTA’s ninth annual Pink Ribbon Cheer Classic on Oct. 25 at Youngstown State University’s Beeghly Center. The dance and cheer exhibition raises money for breast-cancer education and awareness.
“Breast-cancer education and awareness is our national philanthropy,” explained Jessica Sarich, public-relations chairwoman for this year’s event. The YSU chapter belongs to the national ZTA sorority organization.
The money the chapter raises is distributed through the ZTA Foundation to various organizations focused on breast-cancer education and awareness.
Last year, the YSU chapter of the sorority raised $86,000. This year’s goal was $90,000.
At the end of the day, however, 88 teams of dancers and cheerleaders raised a total of $109,400. Most of the teams were from the Mahoning Valley area, with one from Dover. The Boardman High School cheerleaders raised the most money. Teams raised the money by various means, including car washes, for example.
Donations for the concessions were hard to come by this year, given the economic problems many are experiencing, Sarich said.
“So we were a little worried, but obviously it turned out to be more than we could ever have expected.”
Though the event isn’t a traditional competition — awards are not given for first, second and third places — teams do receive prizes in categories such as most spirited and biggest fundraiser.
The YSU chapter of ZTA was the first to have the dance and cheer exhibition as a fundraiser for breast-cancer education and awareness. Since its inception nine years ago, 10 ZTA chapters have had similar events.
“It feels good to know that I’m doing something so huge, and like I’m a part of something that’s so big,” Sarich said. “And we raised so much money this year. When you hear that total at the end of the day, it’s worth all the hard work that you put into it and you just cry.”
The sorority has raised more than $412,000 for the ZTA Foundation since starting the Cheer Classic.