Cheerleaders raise money and awareness for homeless Texoma youth

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DENISON, TX -- Several Texoma cheerleaders gathered for a friendly competition this afternoon, all to raise money and awareness of child homelessness.

Texoma cheer squads met on the mat Saturday afternoon at the first annual Texoma Cheer Showdown.

"We invited all the local schools in the area. They're kind of having just a showdown, bragging rights winning event," Zena Johnson said.

Cheerleaders showed off their techniques for the judges in hopes of winning one of these trophies or medals. But this competition wasn't all about winning. All the money raised is being donated to the North Texas Youth Connection.

"We're a shelter for homeless and runaway youth. Kids usually runaway from something, from some terrible thing that's happening to them. So, we provide shelter and safety for runaway kids," Executive director Sharon Watson said.

More than $5,000 was raised. The money is going towards decorating the rooms in the nonprofit's new Denison shelter, which was needed to house more kids.

"It definitely is a problem, runaway and homeless youth. Kids need a place to go. A lot of kids spend the night on someone's sofa because they don't have a home to go to," Watson said.

Not only does the cheer competition benefit a good cause, but organizers say it also raises awareness of a problem happening in our area.

"Getting them involved and getting the community involved, and the girls that are in that high school and junior high age kind of makes them aware that it could be somebody sitting next to them in history class or it could be somebody sitting across from them at lunch. So, it raises awareness. Let's them know that there are resources available," Johnson said.

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