‘Saracens Cheer and Dance participants Jessika (age 9) and Romir (age 7) tell their story on how classes have impacted them in lockdown.’

Over the past 7 weeks, the Saracens Cheer and Dance project have offered free online Cheerleading and TikTok classes to young people across the country. The project has successfully engaged with over 140 young people during a challenging time to provide fun and active classes whilst at home.

Jessika and Romir are two of the children who have attended the weekly online classes from January this year. Both Jessika and Romir had a short interview via Zoom with their two Saracens coaches Aimee and Sapphire, and both participants have shared their own individual story of how they feel the classes have impacted them.

Jessika

We found out from Jessika that she had been attending a gymnastics class once a week but left because she wasn’t enjoying it, which is when she started participating in our online Cheer and TikTok classes. Jessika went on to say that the Cheer and TikTok classes boosted her mood and made her feel happier, which was great to hear.

Social isolation is an issue facing many young people as a result of the pandemic and Jessika is no different. She said that lockdown has left her feeling sad, mostly because she now has less interaction with her friends, but she does get to see them on facetime sometimes which she loves.

Jessika has enjoyed the online sessions so much that she has wants to continue with cheerleading classes once the lockdown ends with the hope of being lifted as a Saracens flyer, as it’s very similar to gymnastics which is something she greatly enjoys.

Jessika’s mum who was also in the interview, went on to say: “Jessika has definitely learnt a lot through the classes and always has something to look forward to when there’s not much going on. Thank you for putting these classes on.”

Jessika has been an absolute pleasure to have in class over the past 7 weeks. She has adapted to online classes well, showing bravery and confidence in participating with other children she may not know. We cannot wait to welcome Jessika into face to face classes and continue to watch her grow as a Saracens cheerleader.

Romir

Romir said that he is always really excited to get into the Cheer and TikTok classes to find out what “cool new moves” he will learn that week, not to mention how much he likes the music which makes him feel really happy.

Romir has tried other online classes during the pandemic but has struggled to engage with the videos. His mum went on to say how engaged he is with our online classes and his focus has really surprised her when she pops her head in to see how he is getting on. At the Foundation, we try and make our videos as interactive as possible to keep our participants engaged and allow their parents time to work or a moment of respite!

Communication and keeping connected has become a lifeline to many young people during this pandemic. Romir identified that the lockdown left him feeling sad, particularly not being able to communicate with his school friends or go out has left him feeling down. However, crucial connections like speaking to grandparents offer relief to the social isolation and he said that “he got to see his Nani and Nano the previous week which made him very happy!”.

Romir also gave a little word of advice for anyone looking to join the Saracens cheer and dance classes, saying how you should “go for it as you never know what could happen and you could become a superstar!”

Romir’s mum Nivi went on to say, “He is always super excited about the classes, he loves them. The classes have been absolutely brilliant, and it’s been really hard to find something to engage him and it’s amazing to see how engaged he is with you guys. As parents when we are still working from home, its really nice to know that he is in safe hands.”

Romir is a little ball of energy and we love to see his enthusiasm each week during class. He is always so keen and confident to show his moves off to the rest of the class, especially when others may need a little more encouragement. Romir will be an absolute credit to have at Saracens Cheer and Dance classes and we cannot wait to watch his progression as a Saracens student.

Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for every individual but especially for our young people. They have been forced to adapt in many ways, with online learning being one of them. Saracens Foundation wanted to engage and impact young people in a positive way to keep children active, healthy, and having fun during these difficult times. Our impacts are evident through our two young participants and the children attending classes each week.

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