Sarah Cronk ’15 will receive the World of Children Award, often known as the Nobel Prize for Child Advocates, on Nov. 7. The World of Children Award recognizes those who perform life-changing work for children around the world. For her work with The Sparkle Effect, Cronk will receive a $35,000 grant to help expand the scope and impact of her organization.
An Iowa native, Cronk grew up seeing children with disabilities being excluded from high school sports and activities. In 2008, she created and coached the Spartan Sparkles, the nation’s first cheerleading team for children with disabilities. A year later, she founded The Sparkle Effect, a non-profit organization that has helped to create more than 100 inclusive cheerleading and dance teams in schools across the country.
“Students participating on inclusive teams are breaking down social barriers, creating harmony among classmates, replacing insecurity with confidence and joy, and demonstrating that when we open our minds and our hearts to people of all abilities, everyone benefits,” Cronk said.
Cronk plans to use the grant to generate an additional 100 inclusive teams and provide uniforms and on-site teacher training for 2,000 students.