CHICAGO - A South Side cheer team finished a big competition with more than a national title. It's a program that's proving in order to win, you need a strong base.
Chicago's KAOS Girls Cheer Team won three national titles back in May. At their home base in Englewood, the girls, ages 4 to 18, are learning the right steps for the future.
"I’ve seen them go from quiet, shy, not talking to now graduating with law degrees, with coaching themselves, with attending top colleges around the states," said Stacy Tolar.
Coach Tolar co-founded the KAOS Bulldogs 14 years ago. KAOS stands for Keeping Adolescents Off the Streets.
"We have a lot of youth that come from low income to middle income. We have youth that never did sports. We also have youth that have never traveled outside of Chicago," she said.
Tolar teaches the girls not only the right moves on the stage, but also in life, with character building, mentorship, and academic support.
"She doesn't see us as little kids. She sees us as athletes and as people, and she understands that every day might not be a good day, and she does give us grace," said 13-year-old Siren Sargent, who’s from West Englewood and has been cheering for seven years.
Sargent is one of 35 athletes in the program.
"They take us places. We travel for competitions. I get to build a sisterhood with my teammates," she said.
"You can learn about leadership, and you can also make new friends. That's fun," said 10-year-old Amari Moore, who is from Englewood.
It's a program that's teaching life skills, healthy competition, and self-worth to the next generation of young women.
"I really push sisterhood. I really push togetherness. I really build confidence within our program," said Coach Tolar.
"She helps me a lot. If I try to give up, she wouldn't let me give up," said 9-year-old Imani Williams, who is from Hammond and has been cheering for three years.
"She's very supportive. She's never going to let us give up on ourselves, ever," said Sargent.
The KAOS Bulldogs cheer team accepts new athletes year-round. To learn more, go to KAOSbulldogs.com.
They practice three times a week after school and on the weekend.