A former Washington Redskins cheerleader wanted to create a sisterhood for girls in her community, so she started a program that teaches dance and life skills.
LaTasha Casey came up with the idea for the P.O.M. Squad while with the Redskins.
“It inspired me to start this program,” she said. “I thought that all of the life skills that I learned as a Redskins cheerleader needed to be taught to younger girls.”
P.O.M. stands for “positive outcome mentoring,” and in four years, 600 girls have danced in the program. But they are learning much more than dance moves.
“Having self-determination, believing in yourself, leadership,” Casey said.
“I like that she encourages us when we like feel that we can't do it,” Adrianna said. “She says all that you need to do is practice because practice makes perfect.”
The squad has danced at nursing homes, parades and halftime shows for professional sports.
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“When I go on stage, I get butterflies in my stomach and I feel silly, weird because I'm so nervous, and then I start dancing — it just goes away,” Michaela said.
Casey’s husband creates merchandise for the program.
“I'm extremely proud of her,” Herbert Casey said. “I tell her every time we do something, just to see the number of girls that she's touched as far as motivating them and building the confidence in them.”
Casey's in-laws nominated her to be a Harris’s Hero.
“Anything like this where I get to show what we’re doing and create a platform for what I feel like is important is a blessing,” she said.
Parents feel like Casey is the real blessing in their daughters’ lives
“Because that’s where they get they’re foundation for a lot of things in life,” one mother said. “And if you start off that way, you’re just bound to do whatever you want to do.”
The P.O.M. squad will be performing at a Washington Wizards halftime show next month. It also offers a summer camp for girls interested in dance.
It’s low cost, and scholarships are available for low-income families.
Reported by Leon Harris, produced by Michelle Montgomery and edited by Arun Raman.