Going to the mat to help young cheerleaders

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Nina Pineda has the story.

School is closed at PS 307, a magnet community school in DUMBO. However in thee gym, The Brooklyn Diamonds, are polishing up their routine under the watchful eye of volunteer coach Tracy Dickerson.

For the last 2 decades, Coach Tracy has trained her Diamonds to shine over any adversity and succeed.

"We went to the nationals in Florida, and they came in first place," beams Coach Dickerson.

They won the Elite Contest of Champions, despite practicing on thin, worn mats that are as old as the coach's career.

"I've been here 21 years, and the mats were here before I started. Every time they flip, the mats slide, and it can cause them to hurt themselves," says Coach Dickerson.

Last year, the old mats were supposed to be replaced. The squad had fund-raised enough money for brand new ones.

"We did a lot of bake sales and fish fries, we did a lot of stuff to raise money for them, because we need it a lot," said one of the cheerleaders, Cimone Leary.

After a teacher died of Breast Cancer, the squad decided to donate that money to honor her instead.

"I always talk to them about giving back, doing for others, thinking of others as more important than themselves," says Coach Dickerson.

This year they raised $5,500 and sent the payment in full to Tiffin Mats, a leading mat manufacturer in Maryland. The delivery was promised for July, but the mats never arrived. The coach says she was getting the runaround.

"They said the truck broke down on the way to New York with my mats," says Coach Dickerson.

7 on Your Side called the manufacturer and within 3 days, the new mats were in the door. The cheerleaders got the new mats on the floor, and performed a special cheer for 7 on Your Side.

The mats arrived just in time, because the Diamonds have a competition Friday at Hofstra University, so they can practice all week on the new mats.

Tiffin Mats never gave a reason for the delay, but they apologized to the cheerleaders.
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7 On Your Sidecheerleading
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