Making Dreams Happen

By: Lorne Chan

The stars of the AT&T Center on Tuesday were a little over six feet long and lined up in a row on the court. Fifty children ran onto the floor, hugging them and jumping on them.

The stars of the AT&T Center were 50 twin-sized mattresses.

Ashley HomeStore’s Hope to Dream provides less fortunate children the chance to have a good night of sleep.

Kids who were previously sleeping on couches or sharing beds with siblings received their own mattresses, comforters, sheets and pillows on Tuesday. For most of the kids, it’s the first time they’ll sleep on a new mattress.

At an AT&T Center pajama party, the kids got meet Spurs forwards Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw, shoot baskets on the court and got a tour of the Spurs’ locker room, but most of them were more interested in lying on their new beds.

“Beds are a unique need that doesn’t often get addressed,” Bonner said. “Usually when you think of needs, you think of food, shelter, clothing, but you don’t always think of a bed. Especially for a kid, think about how important it is to get a good night of sleep so you can grow and be alert for the next day of school. It’s an awesome thing that Ashley HomeStore is doing.”

Dressed in Darth Vader pajamas and a black tutu, 7-year-old London Gant said that before Tuesday night, she’d been sharing a bed with her brothers and sisters. London’s old mattress has springs poking out, caves in the middle and is too uncomfortable for a good night of sleep, so she and her four brothers and sisters often climb into her oldest sister’s mattress, which her mother Tia Gibson called, “the good mattress.” Now, London has a bed of her own.

“I like the colors, and I like jumping on it,” London said.

Ashley’s Hope to Dream program has given out more than 4,000 beds since the program began in 2010. For every mattress sold at Ashley HomeStores, $5 will be donated to provide mattress sets to children in need.

Jennifer Casanova, director of Hope to Dream, said beds often get overlooked among charitable items, but when families are struggling to afford food, they’re also struggling to afford mattresses and comforters.

Children can be nominated for the program by visiting:

“When kids are acting up in school, you often hear ‘oh, it’s because they’re tired,’” said Ashley HomeStore CEO Gary Seals. “Well, these kids are sleeping on the floor or sleeping five to a bed, so of course they’re tired. We believe a good night’s sleep is critical to growth and development.”



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