Holley cheerleaders create Ronald McDonald House of love

Photos by Tom Rivers: Holley cheerleaders are pictured with a discarded dollhouse that was repurposed as a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 March 2017 at 10:26 pm

Project raised $2,050 for Ronald McDonald House Charities

Penny Cole and her daughter Heather Kelley, the co-coaches of the Holley varsity cheerleading team, are pictured with ‘The Little House That Love Built.’ The house was taken to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester today.

HOLLEY – A discarded doll house proved a popular fund-raiser that also touched the hearts of many in the Holley community.

Holley cheerleaders led the effort to repurpose a toy dollhouse into “The Little House That Love Built.” The house was given today to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, along with $2,050, the fruits of the fund-raising effort.

Cheerleaders sold tiles on the roof for $1 each. There are 780 tiles and most of them include names of the donors.

The cheerleaders are pictured above with the house at about 4 p.m. today before they took it to Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

“I hope people see the names and draw strength from it,” said Penny Cole, co-cheerleading coach.

Cole thanked the community for supporting the fund-raiser which started in November. Cheerleaders sold tiles at basketball games and school events. Many of the donors gave more than $1 for a tile.

This is the third year that Cole and the Holley school have raised money for the Ronald McDonald House. This is the first time the effort topped $1,000.

It took 780 tiles to cover the roof of the house.

The tiles include hundreds of names of community members, as well as visiting fans from other teams that played in Holley.

Cole is co-cheerleading coach with her daughter, Heather Kelley. Cole said Heather was a preemie when she was born before there was a Ronald McDonald House. Cole said she was in anguish having to leave her newborn at the hospital after she was born. Cole wishes there had been a home then for families with children receiving healthcare.

While selling tiles for the mini-house, Cole and cheerleaders heard from families who have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House, and how that option made a difficult time more bearable.

The house was initially for the daughter of a kindergarten teacher. When the daughter outgrew it, the teacher brought it to her classroom. But it was too big for the classroom and was going to be tossed in the garbage.

Cole rescued it, and had it repainted, furnished with toy furniture and a new roof put on with tiles listing hundreds of names. It is now, “The Little House That Love Built.”

Cole has been the cheerleading coach at Holley since 1989. After her daughter graduated from high school in 1997, she joined her mother as co-coach. The two lead a dynamic team which won the Genesee-Region title last month. Cole and Kelley were named the league’s coaches of the year for the second straight year. The two also praised Corrida Shepherd, the JV cheerleading coach.

The house has been decorated inside and even includes furniture.

Cole organizes the varsity team and her daughter is in charge of choreography.

“She is the head train that keeps everything running smoothly,” Kelley said about her mother.

The state in January 2015 made cheerleading an official sport. That designation has resulted in more tumbling and jumping, and less emphasis on dancing. Cole and Kelley said the team starts practicing in August and competes until late February. They cheer for fall and winter sports, and also compete in five of their own events.

“It’s hurtful when people say they’re not athletes because people don’t realize what cheerleaders do,” Cole said.

Holley cheerleaders Kelsey Daniels, left, and Madeline Rowley are pictured with the house and the fund-raising result.

The cheerleaders support their school, and also cheer for other cheerleading teams at the competitions. The Holley cheerleaders also embrace community service, including visits to The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion (the former county nursing home). The cheerleaders visited residents for the Christmas holiday and were back on Valentine’s.

Two of the Holley cheerleaders, Kelsey Daniels and Madeline Rowley, were selected to cheer in the senior showcase, the annual Ronald McDonald House All Star basketball games in Rochester.

Kelsey said the community responded to the Ronald McDonald house fund-raiser, enjoying a new approach to raising money and awareness.

She praised Cole and Kelley for their dedication to the cheerleaders.

“They think of us as their own children,” Kelsey said.

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