Community Organization of the Year: Washington Diamonds Drill Team
Washington Diamonds Drill Team The Washington Diamonds Drill Team was started in 2010 by director Fawn Sterling. Our mission is to involve youth from different backgrounds and cultures to come together and have fun, while developing team-building skills, thereby, teaching our youth respect for themselves and others, fostering professionalism, giving back to the community and celebrating our achievements. Our goals will be accomplished by having weekly practices where they are encouraged to work together as a team to learn challenging choreography, building self-esteem, volunteering in the community, and having weekly educational life-skill tips to promote healthy communications within their families.
Fawn, single mother of 5, wanted to create a positive and safe place for girls to grow into beautiful young ladies. The last two years Fawn has incorporated a drum line for boys and girls. The Diamonds have had the opportunity to perform at various parades and festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest. This year the girls performed in the Seafair Torch Light Parade for the first time and won The Seafair Torchlight Drill Team Award. Fawn hopes to one day take the girls to perform at the Disney Land or Disney World Parade.
Samiyah Cujoe has been with the Diamonds for five years. Fawn recalls when Samiyah first joined the group how shy she started out. She would often say, “I want to try but I am scared”, says Fawn. Over the years, however, Fawn has seen Samiyah grow into a confident young girl who is now considering trying out for a lead position next year. Samiyah has Sickle Cell Anemia and being on the drill team has not always been easy. “Having a kid with Sickle Cell in sports is challenging. Sometimes she has leg pain but she will march through the pain and cry about it at the end of the parade. “Says Mom”, Telah Floyd. The Diamonds have learned to make various accommodations over the years to be sure Samiyah has felt supported. “We always make sure she stays hydrated and warm and we allow her to take breaks when she needs to”. The other girls have also learned to be supportive and accommodating to Samiyah . Of course, support does not always happen perfectly. Fawn recalls times when other girls have thought Samiyah was getting special treatment. To address these concerns and other issues the girls might encounter Fawn has implemented “Real Talk” sessions for the girls to voice and resolve issues when they arise. Through these sessions the girls have come to learn more about Sickle Cell and other conditions because the Diamond’s team has included girls with unique needs throughout the years. Fawn encourages the girls to “never assume” because you never really know how someone else must navigate through the world.
The Sickle Cell Task Force would like to honor the Washington Diamonds Drill Team as our community organization of the year. Thank you, Fawn, for creating a safe place for all girls to grow including those with Sickle Cell in our community.
The Washington State Diamonds will be performing and honored at the Sickle Cell Walk, September 9, 2017 at Seward Park Shelter # 3. For more information about the walk please visit: http://mssctf.org/blog/event/12-annual-sickle-cell-walk/.
The Diamonds will be accepting new girls and boys for the year starting in October 2017. If you would like to learn more about the drill team you can find them on Facebook at Washington Diamonds public group.