BLOOMFIELD, New Jersey -- In a year with so much heartbreak, so many are looking for a bright spot. And who better to offer a quick burst of cheer than cheerleaders?
That's the simple mission for a group of teenagers from New Jersey.
Friends Mackenzie Jennings, Sofia Cordaro, Alessia Velazquez and Ava Cassilli started Project CheerUP! at the beginning of the pandemic, with the goal of making videos with simple messages to boost morale.
What started in Bloomfield has expanded, and now, the guaranteed mood boosters are being sent around the country.
"We were all on lockdown and it canceled our cheer team, but we decided to keep cheering from our homes and put together small videos that we could send to family and friends to cheer them up," Jennings said.
The so-called "Cheergrams" caught on, with requests for birthdays, messages to health care workers, get well notes for people who were sick, or for anyone who just needed a little cheering up.
"We record them at our own house, so we are following the COVID guidelines," Cordaro said. "Put them together, and it comes out really nicely."
The cheering is infectious, and kids from all over began participating.
"They're requesting them and sending them to people they love, so it's really an honor how much they appreciate what we're doing," Jennings said.
Ten-year-old Nicolas Elfort is now a CheerUP! ambassador carrying the torch.
"It makes me happy, and it puts a smile on their face when they see it," Elfort said.
Aside from the grams, they've launched a non profit, and Project CheerUP!'s goal is to spread positivity through deeds and cheer.
"We hope to have cheer teams signed from all 50 states, so we can (go) global and do the unthinkable -- which is cheering up the world," ambassador Joelle Gonnella said.
And who could say no to that?
For more, visit ProjectCheerUP.com/