A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Former Ben-Gal cheerleader Meade now works in human resources, roots for the team at Redwood

She’s taking Sundays off now.

Meade in her Ben-gal gear (provided).

But Maria Meade, a former Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleader, cheers for a different team these days.

And she does it daily.

“I’m on Team Redwood now,” said the 36-year-old Human Resource Generalist at Redwood – the nonprofit, special needs facility located here. “I’ve been here for 16 years.”

Redwood was truly a family affair for Meade, a graduate of Bellevue (KY) High School.

“I took Special Education classes at Northern Kentucky University,” she said. “My sister worked at Ft. Wright Elementary School and told me about the Redwood Summer Program – and the rest,” she said, “was history.”

Her cheerleading history started at Bellevue High – and her goal back then was to cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals.

“My high school cheerleading coach (Christa Sharba) was a Ben-Gal,” she said. “That was all the motivation I needed.”

Meade cheered for the Ben-Gals four seasons – and a one-year move to Minnesota even saw her talents as a cheerleader for the Minnesota Vikings.

At Redwood – which services some 800 clients from six-weeks of age to 85 – Meade handles the hiring of personnel, employee benefits and insurance matters.

“There’s great satisfaction is seeing a client walk – when he was told he couldn’t,” she said. “And when I hear a client say ‘bye’ when he’s told he can’t talk.”

The obstacles the clients overcome daily are truly a reason to enjoy my Redwood life, she said.

And certainly a reason to cheer.


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