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Katy Special Needs Cheerleading Program Spreads Joy Through Confidence


February 10, 2022

By Natalie Cook Clark

A Katy cheer abilities team is wowing crowds and back to competitions this year after a year off in the pandemic. The Stars Vipers Rainboas is a local non-profit cheer program that gives all abilities the opportunity to take part in cheerleading and they are spreading joy with each cheer.

The Stars Vipers Rainboas in Katy.

A Local Nonprofit, Special Needs Cheerleading Program Wows Crowds

The Rainboas is a non-profit cheer ability group in Katy. They are part of The Stars Vipers Cheer and Tumbling in Katy and Richmond that train all-star cheerleaders.

The Rainboas gives any cheerleader with special needs the opportunity the be part of a cheerleading team and it’s free to join because of their 501c status. The program is more than a cheerleading group. The members are very close and encourage each other.

More Than Cheerleading

“I like that I can always be myself and if I’m having a bad day no one gets mad at me,” says Rainboa member Tessa Lacy. “They just hug me and tell me it’s okay because everybody has bad days.”

Their coaches are volunteer high school and college cheerleaders. In 2019 University of Houston student, Jillian Voehl became their coach and is one of 5 winners for this year’s Jersey Mikes Sub Above program. The program awards local heroes making a difference grants to their group and recognition.

“I believe, in general, we spend a lot of time getting told everything we cannot do,” says Rainboa head coach Jillian Voehl. “For most of our athletes, they get told, ‘oh, you can’t do that,’ or ‘that’s not possible for you’ more than anyone else.”

Voehl says that their program is about showing the athlete’s everything that they can do.

“We hope that the confidence we have in our athletes translates into confidence in themselves and abilities,” says Voehl.

Learn from the Rainboas

And she says she learns something from the Rainboas each time she sees them.

Photo courtesy: The Rainboas

“They are the ultimate example of joy and resilience, and they taught me how to go through life with a positive outlook,” says Voehl.

Like so many organizations, The Rainboas were forced to take a break from the performances and competitions that they love during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year their 11 members are thrilled to be back doing what they love.

“I really like that the crowd cheers for us when we do our routine,” says Lacy.

Learn more about The Stars Wipers Rainboas on their Facebook page.


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