It’s an image that evokes all kinds of emotion – 100 beds lined up in the Colts pavilion, each made up with bedding, pillows, and goodie bags – and each with the name of a child on it, who now has a bed to call their own.
“You think 100 beds, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a lot.’ But then when you see it – you’re in an ocean of beds,” says Casey Slagle with Ashley HomeStore. “It’s awesome.”
It can also be overwhelming.
“I almost lost it when I walked in here,” says Colts cheerleader, Lexie.
It’s the third year the Colts have partnered with Ashley for the Hope to Dream event.
“The Colts are such an amazing partner in this thing. They have truly embraced this event,” says Todd Garten, executive vice president of marketing for Ashley HomeStore. “We have more involvement from the Colts immediate staff and team members and cheerleaders and extended family, even the Blue Ladies, who are here this year – they’re a new addition.”
Members of the Colts female fan club volunteered to help put the beds together and take them down.
Suzi Worsham has been a Colts fan since they arrived in Indianapolis. She just joined the Blue Ladies – and jumped right in to lend a hand.
“The reason I’m here today is just to help out – help out the community. And little kids, I mean geez – why wouldn’t you?”
Before they were surprised with their beds, the kids were treated to a youth football camp in the Colts practice facility, a dance party with Colts Cheerleaders, and a pizza party.
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett showed up to play with the kids, challenge them on the field, and show off his arm.
“I like throwing the ball. I used to play quarterback when I was younger. I wasn’t blessed to be six foot four or anything like that,” he says. “So, I settled for receiver.”
But he was blessed with parents who provided for him and his sister.
“We weren’t the richest, but my dad – he worked and he did a lot of side jobs, worked for the school board, he worked his tail off to be able to provide a good life for us,” he says. “I’m in a position to help them now. So, it’s definitely a blessing for me.”
He can remember sharing a bed with his sister when they were young – before his dad built another room in the house for her.
“At first, we had bunk beds. But we were both scared to sleep on the top bunk. So, we slept on the bottom.”
He can appreciate the joy of a child finally having his or her own bed to sleep in.
“That’s the best feeling,” he says. “This is a dream come true for a lot of them.”
And for the parents, it’s a sigh of relief.
“That’s my favorite moment, is watching the families interact once they’re in here – it’s near the end of the event when the parents are working so hard to carefully bag up the comforters and they want to make sure their kid gets their balloon, it sinks in that this is theirs to take home,” Slagle says. “It’s like a sense of relief – it’s the relief on their face of, ‘I don’t have to worry about this anymore. I don’t have to worry about where my kid is going to get a good night’s sleep.’”
And that’s what it’s about.
“Tonight is about hope for me,” says Garten. “It’s hope for the parents to not lose hope and hope for the kids to see a path for the future.”
And hope that they have sweet dreams in their new beds.
For information on Hope to Dream or to nominate a deserving child, visit: https://www.ashleyfurniturehomestore.com/a-hope-to-dream#fndtn-tabSearch_products.
For more photos from the Hope to Dream event, go to: http://www.colts.com/photos/photo-gallery/Ashley-Furniture-Hope-to-Dream-Event/a5e12126-1ffb-4ef8-bee8-e03380d9aef9.