Day Dreamers Struck Gold with the 49ers Football Team

On Saturday, November 2nd, children and families from the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte spent a fun-filled day at the UNC Charlotte 49ers football game. The families were welcomed to a spirited Charlotte 49ers tailgate hosted by Tailgate Guys and were eager to dig into a delicious lunch courtesy of Chick-Fil-A University Place!

Mingling with the families and eating
a delicious lunch kicked the day off right!  

After lunch, the Dream Kids and their families were treated to the front row of the “Niner Walk” which included the marching band, cheerleaders, and Gold Dusters dance team leading the football team from the buses to the field house. Our Dream Kids got a VIP experience of walking hand in hand with the football players after the spirit crew walked past. The Dream Kids also had the opportunity to talk to the football players on their walk and experience the spirit crew cheering them on with the football players. It was amazing to see how these big, tough football players embraced our special guests and made them feel like they were the stars of the show.

The Dream Kids faces said it all –
they were full of awe and excitement.  

After the Niner Walk, the Dream Kids and families had additional time to tailgate where they mingled, played corn hole, and interacted with the 49ers Cheerleading team. What happened next may have been the highlight of the day! After throwing the football with former Carolina Panthers guard and UNCC faculty member (and huge Dream On 3 supporter), Kevin Donnalley, the children were taken behind the scenes to the field house where they were greeted by football players.

We are not sure who had the bigger smiles –
the football players or the Dream Kids!  

Afterwards, the children were escorted into the weight room where the cheerleaders and Gold Dusters were ready to hang out. It did not take any time at all before the dancing started with the Dream Kids and the spirit crew! There was a lot of flossing, cheer stunts, and dance battles surrounded by a circle of folks cheering the Dream Kids on in the middle! After the “dance party”, everyone was invited onto the football field to watch the players warm-up and run drills. The football players and staff could not stay away from the Dream Kids! Football players and staff continued to come over to meet the Dream Kids and their families. One Dream Kid even conducted the band from the sidelines while the band played their pregame show. The children stayed on the football field after warm-ups were over to give the football players high fives and cheer them on as they ran onto the field. One very lucky Dream Kid, William, ran with the football players the length of the field. The Dream Kids and families then took their seats to watch the 49ers bring home a 34-20 victory! Go Niners!   

A special thank you to Lockton Companies employees for sponsoring this exciting Day Dream.

Special thanks to the UNC Charlotte student-athletes
that made this experience so wonderful for our Dream Kids.