Life lessons in giving with Express Gives Back

expressThe young lady athletes of Cheer and Spirit Express All Stars take their cheer and spirit of the Holidays and give back to those less fortunate in our community.

When it comes to cheer and dance groups in Colorado and across the nation, few can compare to the success of the Express All Stars. Chances are you know or have known one of these exceptional young ladies considering that the Express All Stars have been entertaining groups at sporting and civic events and representing the Grand Valley across the country for over 30 years.

The Express All Stars, directed by Tena Preuss, offers young ladies in the Grand Valley cheer and dance at competitive levels and recreational levels, from its popular “JumpStart” recreational groups, which allow youths from ages 3-12 to get a taste of cheer and dance without the competitive side, to its All Star levels of competitive cheer and dance, which have brought home over 240 national championship titles and now boast 4 consecutive trips to the Dance World Championships.
But one thing Grand Valley residents know for sure, you will recognize graduates from the Express All Star program by their actions and words whether they are in school, in the community or in their everyday lives.

“Our teams and coaches strive to teach our girls the importance of commitment, teamwork and self-confidence,” says Preuss, “And this commitment goes beyond the gym.” Preuss, her coaches and myriad parents that volunteer surround the athletes at Express with examples and lessons about becoming not just the best they can be at dance and cheer, but also at becoming solid, all-around students, teammates and citizens.

“At this time of year, it’s important for the kids to understand that those that have been blessed with much in their lives need to take some of that blessing and give it back to their community,” explains Preuss. From that desire to teach the athletes life-long lessons sprang the Express Gives Back program. “The program gives our athletes an understanding of just how much charity is needed in our area and across the country, and that the need is desperate in many cases. The hands-on experience will instill this lesson as they move forward in their own lives,” Preuss added.

This year those lessons will extend across every level of the teams at the Express All Stars. Each team of athletes has been assigned a recipient or group or organization to do something from the heart for the holidays. Past recipients of Express Gives Back have been Homeward Bound, Camp Hope and the local VA Medical Center. This year there are several more groups to be added to the growing list for Express Gives Back.

Every team participated in bring in canned good during their practices for the entire month of November and those canned goods will be donated to the Grand Valley Soup Kitchen. The Mini and Youth Cheer teams will be making goodie trays and delivering them to local police and fire stations. The Junior Dance and Cheer Express teams are sponsoring The House, a Grand Junction shelter that provides counseling and shelter for Western Slope teens, and are shopping for homeless teen girls. They will be buying articles of clothing, an accessory and an makeup/toiletry item for each girl in need, as well as collecting fashionable, practically new girl’s clothing to also give the organization. Spirit Express will be collecting clothes for The House, as well as, putting together gifts for our veterans at the VA and making homemade goodies for the residents at Harbor Cove Retreat, and will be spending the weekend at both facilities, playing games, visiting and helping the staff.

“It is my hope that the Express Gives Back program instills a giving heart in all the athletes at the Express All Stars,” says Preuss, “And that the kids learn that a small act of charity at this time in their lives can lead to greater acts of kindness not only for each athlete and recipient, but it can also make and huge impact on an entire community in the future.”

If you or your business would like to donate any items the young ladies of Express All Stars are gathering for this year’s Express Gives Back recipients, or if you would like to make a monetary donation for the kids to use to shop for those items, kindly contact Craig Hall at 970-778-8864 or by email at