Up Close: Inclusion Cheer Showcases Kids With Special Needs

Oct 30, 2019, 8:08 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 11:07 am

HERRIMAN, Utah — A high school teaching assistant is changing young lives after she started a new kind of cheerleading squad showcasing a very special group of kids.

“I always like to say, ‘It’s to show what they can do instead of what they can’t, Chelsea Lopez said about her new “Inclusion Cheer” team made up of about 30 kids with special needs, ranging in age from 6 to 30 years old.

Lopez said some of her fondest memories in high school were cheering on the sidelines. She has since graduated and now is working to assist teachers in special needs classes at Herriman High School.

Over the summer, she said she got the idea to combine her two loves — teaching and cheering.

The team of boys and girls comes with a variety of different abilities. KSL caught up with the squad at its very first football game.

“I have this pull where I just want to say hi to them and I just want to become their friend. And it’s just come from the love of the people and also my love of teaching,” Lopez said.

The team practices once a week and performs at a variety of events.

Inclusion cheer participants during a weekly practice session.

There to help Lopez with the team is 27-year-old Kyleigh Billings. She, too, is a former cheerleader.

“I have always had a passion to give these kids a voice and to help them feel included. I’ve worked with kids with special abilities since I was 10,” Billings said.

Of the 30 kids on the team, 27 are girls and three are boys.

“I love Inclusion Cheer. It gives me a voice,” said one of the kids.

Inclusion Cheer consists of 30 members.

“I just like making lots of new friends,” said another cheerleader.

You can learn more about Inclusion Cheer here.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Up Close

(KSL TV)...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Up Close: Girls Wrestling Booming In Utah

Once a real shocker in high school sports, girls wrestling has becoming one of the most popular growing sports in the country. That’s why the season may be over but practice continues for many girls.
2 years ago
Albee Bostrom and Sissy McDade turned their love of thrift store shopping into a business: Thrift H...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Up Close: Young Entrepreneurs Turn Thrift Store Shopping Into Full-Time Business

A simple hobby of thrift store shopping has turned into a full-time business for a couple of young entrepreneurs in Utah County. They’ve now opened up their very own unique thrift store with a flash to the past. We are talking about the 1980s and 1990s era.
2 years ago
Courtney Kimball and her sister Kym Frey help women living in the slums of San Pedro Sula, Honduras...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Up Close: ‘One Common Thread’ Organization Helping Women In Poverty

Two Utah sisters - one now living in one of the most dangerous cities in the world - are helping to bring women out of poverty by teaching them a skill that’s giving them new hope.
2 years ago
A BYU project called the "Rheumatic Relief" project is helping to heal children's hearts and save h...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Up Close: BYU Project Tests Samoan Children For Heart Conditions

A BYU project tests Samoan children for heart conditions, helping to heal damaged hearts and save hundreds of lives.
2 years ago
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Up Close: West Jordan Girl Sings Her Way Into National Spotlight

An eight-year-old girl from West Jordan has won an incredible award. She became the Grand Champion Vocalist of the year in the 25th annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio, Texas.
2 years ago
Man with dwarfism is an accomplished collegiate-level pianist and composer (Courtesy: KSL TV)...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Up Close: Man With Dwarfism Overcomes Challenges To Play Piano

A Utah man suffering with a curved spine and deformed arms, legs and hands, has somehow managed to become an accomplished collegiate-level pianist and composer – writing his own notes and singing his own songs.
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Up Close: Inclusion Cheer Showcases Kids With Special Needs