Westmont Cheer Team Fundraiser To Bring iPads To Special Needs Children

WESTMONT, Ill. (CBS) — Friday night’s Westmont High School halftime show will be anything but normal.

A big out-of-town crowd is expected, and 55 cheerleaders will both cheer and raise money to provide iPads equipped with special apps to help special-needs children nationwide learn.

The special iPad given in late July to Ruby Benefield, 5, has helped her learn math, science, language and even sign language despite spina bifida.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

“I’m playing,” she says. But her parents are amazed at how the iPad has broken down historic barriers to learning for such children.

A weekend extravaganza begins with the football game. A Sunday night raffle, on the team’s Facebook page, has two iPads as grand prizes. The goal is to raise enough money to provide a specially-equipped iPad for one special needs child in each of the 50 states.

Ruby’s mother, Lara, has worked closely with the Westmont Cheer Team and hopes others copy what they’re doing.

For the Benefield family, it’s a family affair. Older sister Emma is on the Cheer Team and is the one who brought the idea to coach Becky Freeman.

The Cheer Team members will be working with Westmont’s junior cheerleaders, and one of them is 11-year-old Sophie Benefield. And Ruby will be one of the three special needs children who will participate alongside the others in the 55-person cheerleading contingent.

“She won’t let that wheelchair stop her,” her mother said, as Ruby practiced the hand moves along with the rest of the cheerleaders.

The founder of the group, which is known online by its initials “A4CWSN” or simply “A4,” Gary James, is flying in from Connecticut for the game. Others who support the group are coming in from Florida, Virginia and Michigan. It’s the first fundraiser of any kind for the nine-month-old group, and Lara Benefield said she hopes this serves as a template for what other groups can do to help A4.

  • Just Axin

    As long as these aren’t handed out to ghetto kids where it’s only use will involve sipee cups with pop being spilled on it.

  • Lara Benefield

    The proceeds of this fundraiser benefit A4cwsn. You can find them on FB or the website http://www.A4cwsn.com. Founder Gary James is working hard to provide a voice to children who otherwise wouldn’t have one. :) You can buy raffle tickets by going on FB to the fundraiser page WHS iCheer for Children with Special Needs and clicking on the event for the $20 iPad raffle.

  • http://smallbutkindamighty.wordpress.com OMum22

    Thank you Lara and the whole Benefield family for organizing. this. Hope you have fun and raise lots of money for an awesome cause. Wish I could be there – thinking of you!

  • whs cheerleader

    im a whs cheerleader and proud to be part of somethin like this. but coach becky came up wit this fundraiser and deserves credit for that. she made up the routines, taught us high school cheerleaders, and helped with the jr sentinels at practices. she designed the shirts and planned all the little things. coach b had this idea by herself and every1 else helped to make it so big. jus sayin she planned this.

  • Mike

    Becky Freeman and the Westmont cheer team have done sooo much for this fundraiser, it will be exciting to be there! Thank you Becky and the girls for your hard work!!

  • Anonymous

    What happened to the comment from the WHS Cheerleader??

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live