Day Dreamers Struck Gold with the 49ers Football Team

Contributed by: Hannah Wareham, Dream On 3 Intern (Fall 2019)

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!  
 

ream Kids and their families had a front-row seat to the Niner Walk. Talk about high energy! This special opportunity meant that participants joined the band, cheerleaders and the Gold Dusters dance team while they walked hand-in-hand with the football players to hype up the fans as everyone entered the stadium. 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. 

One look at the faces of our Dream Kids said it all 
they were 
overflowing with awe and excitement.   

We had time for a little more tailgating where families connected, played corn hole, and even got a little more time 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 kids, and families were taken behind the scenes to the field house where they were greeted by football players. 

It was hard to tell who was having more fun 
the football players or the Dream Kids!
 

And the fun didn’t stop there! The kids were escorted into the weight room where the cheerleaders and Gold Dusters took the dream spirit to the next level. Just imagine the energy in a room full of smiling, flossing, cheer stunts, dance battles and selfies! Everyone in that room surrounded and cheered for our Dream Kids and their face were lit up.  

Time for the sidelines while players warmed-upran drills and prepared for game time. The football players and staff had a hard time resisting the charm of the Dream Kids, they continued to come over to say hello and give out high-fives and fist bumps. One Dream Kid, William, even conducted the band from the sidelines during the pregame show and took the field with the team to welcome the crowd!  

The perfect ending to a fun and beautiful day was being able to grab a seat and 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.

Thank you to all involved and special thanks to the UNC Charlotte student-athletes
that made this experience such a wonderful one for our Dream Kids.