CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – There's a good reason they're called cheerleaders: Members of the Hendrick Hudson High School Sailors cheerleading team fanned out across Cortlandt on Wednesday for "A Cheerful Day of Giving."
The girls were instructed not to accept any money for their various "cheerful" activities, including helping load groceries into cars, tying balloons to children's strollers and handing out cards with positive messages.
Many people were "a little shocked, because they don't expect random teenage girls to come up to them," said Madison Hojnacki, 16.
"Everyone's a little speechless at first, and then they realize, it's just because," said Debra Maiorano, president of the Sailors Cheerleading Club.
The cheerleading team was stationed at eight locations in Cortlandt for three hours in the morning, including A&P in Croton, CVS in Croton, the Montrose Veterans Affairs campus and the Cortlandt train station, among others.
After their cheerful activities, which one passer-by at A&P called an "optimism campaign," the girls went on to three hours of practice.
Generally, the cheerleading teams practice three to four hours a day, five to six days a week. Three cheering seasons run from September to March: football season, competitive cheering and basketball season.
The girls stationed at A&P recounted encouraging moments, such as an elderly woman blowing them a kiss, and a man passing by saying, "We need more of this in the world."