The Dallas Cowboys and Ashley HomeStore hosted 100 underserved youth from Ashley HomeStore's Hope to Dream charity and The Salvation Army to the 'ultimate' sleepover experience on-field at AT&T Stadium on Friday evening.
"Ashley HomeStore and the Levitz Family are proud to join with the Dallas Cowboys to support the Hope To Dream charity," said Michael Levitz, President of Ashley Furniture HomeStore. "Hope To Dream was established in 2010 to help provide beds for deserving children without a bed of their own. Through this program, Hope To Dream has donated over 40,000 beds to children across the nation and around the world."
"We are excited about providing, for the second year, this once in a lifetime opportunity for 100 local kids to spend the night in an unbelievable facility, the AT&T Stadium, and to be hosted by the Dallas Cowboys organization. Each child will leave with their own bed," Levitz continued.
The families entered AT&T Stadium to a red-carpet style arrival with a greeting from the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers to welcome them for the big event that was essentially Christmas in July for these families.
From the stadium's main lobby, everyone made their way down to the Dallas Cowboys locker room where they were informed that all of the kids had their own bed set up out on the football field and that the next morning, each of them would have that bed delivered to their home following the sleepover.
"We have a fun-filled even lined up for you guys, but it's definitely more important for you to have your own bed," Cowboys star cornerback Brandon Carr asked as he joined the kids in the locker room. "There's so much stuff going on in the world that we can't control, but we can control waking up in the morning, making our bed and coming back and crashing in our bed at night. It's as simple as that. You need sleep. Sleep is important."
Carr handed over the microphone and led the kids out onto the field at AT&T Stadium.
The beds were lined up out on the field with each of them having Cowboys sheets and bed spreads and the name of each individual kid who was attending the event and receiving their own bed. Each bed also came with goodies including footballs, Cowboys team photos and teddy bears.
"This night is really unbelievable and heartwarming. We can take things for granted, something as simple as a bed with sheets and a blanket and it helps you to evaluate your own life and the things that really matter," said Scott Erdmann, manager of corporate partnerships for the Dallas Cowboys. "One of the girls said this was the best day of her life, the first time she's ever had a teddy bear and had her own bed."
Following the big Papa John's pizza party in one of the field level clubs, the kids were back out on the field playing in the bounce houses, and having dance and hula hoop contests with members of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers -- all of whom seemed to be having as mush fun as the kids.
Carr joined in on the fun as he signed autographs, posed for pictures, threw the football with the kids and volunteers and even stopped down to join in on a rendition of the popular dance known as the 'Cupid Shuffle' with the kids and the DCRB Dancers.
"This has been one of the most rewarding appearances and overall experiences during my four years as a member of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers," said veteran DCRB Sammi Paradice. "Just seeing the looks on the kids' faces and how happy they are made tonight very special."
As the action on the field wound down, the kids were escorted into the stands where they were treated to a showing of Finding Nemo on the huge HD video board that hangs above the football field.
Volunteers from the Dallas Cowboys, Ashley HomeStore, the Gene and Jerry Jones Family North Texas Youth Education Town at The Salvation Army Arlington, TempurSealy, and Cowtown Chive were on-site donating their time and talents towards a successful event for the youth.
A portion of the proceeds from every mattress purchase at local Ashley HomeStores benefit children in need.
Families in need of beds and mattresses can be nominated by friends, family members and social service organizations at www.texasashley.com/cowboys.