Image Source: Cheerios / Jennifer Houchens
Jerry Harris is a pro at mat talk, and the Cheer stunter and Navarro grad told POPSUGAR that he thoroughly enjoys it. "I love encouraging people, I love helping people feel good, I love making people feel better about themselves," he said. "It comes full circle of everybody feeling good, everybody feeling happy, and everybody being amazing." Are you smiling yet?
Harris is launching a new mat talk series on Instagram called "Morning Motivation" every Tuesday starting Aug. 11 and lasting until the first week in Sept. The series, Harris said, is to "just help infuse people's day with positivity and keep the good going on." And, along with his positivity, he'll be promoting his efforts to bring awareness to childhood hunger in partnership with Cheerios, which donated $1.3 million to No Kid Hungry.
Growing up, Harris said he faced food insecurity. "I wouldn't know when my next meal would be, I wouldn't know what I would be eating for dinner," he recalled, adding that he wants to help keep people informed — over 11 million children in the United States live in "food insecure" homes — and push knowledge of No Kid Hungry's mission to end childhood hunger, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, one in four kids in the US could face hunger this year. "With COVID, during this time, a lot of kids depend on those breakfasts and lunches from schools, and with schools not opening up and parents being unemployed, it's just very sad to see," Harris said. "Knowing myself, I was one of those kids who really depended on the school food. It was something, and it definitely kept me fed — so I know there are families out there that are struggling."
"Keep looking out for other people because it's not just you, there's other people in this world, too."
And, when asked what mat talk Harris would give people who weren't keen on following safety protocol during the pandemic — practicing physical distancing when possible and wearing masks in public in particular — he has a clear-as-day message: we're in this together. "I would definitely tell them to do it for their grandmother, do it for your mom, do it for your neighbors," Harris said.
Wearing a mask and taking proper protocols to decrease community transmission isn't hard to do, and Harris agreed. "Just do it, and keep being healthy. Keep looking out for other people because it's not just you, there's other people in this world, too," he said. "And, I want them to just try to look out for as many people as possible, OK?" You heard him! Let those words ring through your ears the rest of this pandemic.