(Photo By:  Clara Steele) The C.H.E.E.R. Leaders pose with Kurt and Brenda Warner, and teacher Jordan Samson

(Photo By: Clara Steele)
The C.H.E.E.R. Leaders pose with Kurt and Brenda Warner, and teacher Jordan Samson

By Tara Lanning

Eastvale – Students at Eleanor Roosevelt High School recently experienced a life changing week. In March, the Best Buddies group helped to orchestrate the C.H.E.E.R. program for the school.

C.H.E.E.R. – an acronym for Consciousness Helps Encourage Equal Respect – invites students to adopt a disability and get a closer look on how people with disabilities are treated.

Each day, a group of students participated in different activities simulating what a disability might be like, including blindness, hearing impairment, or not being able to talk or walk.  One of the highlights of the week was the school-wide signing of the “END THE R WORD” poster.

ERHS ended the week with very special guests, former NFL quarterback, Kurt Warner, and his wife, Brenda, founders of the C.H.E.E.R. program.  Their son, Zach, has a disability, and is the inspiration behind the whole program. The Warner’s became distraught when they noticed their son eating school lunch in the corner with other disabled students in a cafeteria full of laughing, young teenagers. Why wouldn’t the other students invite Zach and the other amazing kids into their groups? They were worth an invitation to a party, so why did they never receive one?

The Warner’s realized how important it was to bring awareness to this issue.  A disability does not define a person. In fact, we all have challenges in life, but we all have talents as well. Kurt and Brenda shared their amazing story and encouraged ERHS students to look at life in a different way. They encouraged the students to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. They encouraged the students to make a difference in someone’s life and to be the kind of leader who inspires others with their actions and encouragements.

The students learned how to live today to impact tomorrow.  Yes, we are all different, but we are all also the same in the way that we need someone – we all need each other.  No one should ever feel unimportant or unworthy.  That is what C.H.E.E.R. is all about.

ERHS would like to thank Kurt and Brenda Warner for encouraging students to make a difference in the lives around them.