The National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Ashley Furniture HomeStores-Jacksonville announced they will partner to expand Ashley Furniture HomeStores “A Hope to Dream” program to 100 children in London, England. Last year, Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley, his wife Michaela and their children, teamed with Howard Fineman, CEO and Managing Member of Jacksonville’s Ashley Furniture HomeStores to host a sleepover for 50 children at the Jaguars Everbank Field home. The children enjoyed everything from pizza with football players to a dance party led by the Jaguars’ ROAR cheerleading squad. The children were stunned to learn that the beds they were sleeping in that night would go home with them the next day.
Bradley and Fineman and their respective team members were so overwhelmed by the response to the sleepover and the bed giveaway that for the past year they’ve worked on their dream to expand the program. Today, both organizations announced that they will host the Second Annual “A Hope to Dream” sleepover in Jacksonville on August 1, 2014, and they have agreed to expand the program to aid children in London, England who need beds.
“We are proud to support the community in which we work and live by donating free beds to children in need,” said Fineman. “Coach Bradley, his family, and the entire Jaguars organization have embraced ‘A Hope to Dream’ as part of their culture. Now that the Jaguars play in London, it is the most logical way to show our support of the Jaguars, continue to do the most good, and let Jaguar fans in Great Britain know Ashley Furniture HomeStore and the Jacksonville Jaguars are committed to their fans and to helping children in the communities that support the team.”
The “A Hope to Dream” sleepover at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida will take place Friday, August 1, 2014. This year, Ashley Furniture HomeStores will double to 100 children. Sleepover participants are selected from “A Hope to Dream” applications and through local child-serving organizations such as MaliVai Washington Kid’s Foundation, The JFund, Salvation Army and Daniel Kids. Less than one month later, members of both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Ashley Furniture 2
HomeStores-Jacksonville organizations will fly to London for the sleepover at Wembley Stadium on August 30, 2014 to host a sleepover for 100 more children.
Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley says this united effort is one that means a great deal to him. “My family and I are honored to be a part of the “A Hope to Dream” program. As a coach, I know a good night’s sleep is the critical building block to good health and to having a hope of achieving in life. My wife and my children and I were just overcome with emotion at last year’s sleepover. You have never seen such joy as when we told those children that from now on they would sleep in a bed—in their own bed—and the chance to expand the program to our fans in London—it’s the definition of being a servant leader and it’s going to be amazing!”
The Jaguars are in their second year of a four-year commitment to play a regular-season home game in the United Kingdom as they host the Dallas Cowboys at London’s historic Wembley Stadium on Sunday, November 9.
The “A Hope to Dream” program began with Fineman’s Ashley Furniture HomeStores in Jacksonville in 2010. Since then the program has spread across the country and has donated more than 10,000 Ashley Sleep sets to children in need. Fineman added that he is especially grateful to his customers who he credits with the program’s success because with every purchase of a mattress at a local Ashley Furniture HomeStore, a portion of the proceeds pays for a mattress set for a child in need. Families who need beds are nominated by friends, family and social service agencies. If you know of a child who needs a bed you can submit your nomination at any Ashley Furniture HomeStore showroom on the First Coast, or online at www.ahopetodream.com.