DALLAS – Ten young men with special-needs from Dallas ISD’s Thomas Jefferson High School took the runway Wednesday morning – some even in wheelchairs – during a fashion show, showing off custom-made suits, shiny new shoes, sharp haircuts and, best of all, a new sense of confidence. Dallas Mavericks veteran Dorian Finney-Smith surprised the students on stage and was joined by Dallas Mavs’ deejay Poizon Ivy and the ManiAACs.
The students were the stars of the show, many of them donning a suit for the very first time. Backstage the students had nervous jitters until they heard the roar of the crowd in the auditorium and realized the cheers were all for them. The boys were escorted by female classmates dressed in prom dresses and Finney-Smith danced with children on stage and later posed for individual photos with each participant.
The event is part of the annual Suit Up Experience, presented by the Heroes Foundation and the Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center.
The Heroes Foundation and the Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center purchased the suits for the students. Lombardo Custom Apparel helped style the students and custom made some of the suits, to allow for easier dressing for students with physical limitations. Logan Myles, with The Heart Hatter, supplied quirky, colorful hats for the show that had hearts and “love” stitched on them.
The Suit Up Experience began four years ago as a male version of the “prom dress project,” which quickly evolved into a year-round program tailored to educate and equip young men in various areas of their life. To date, a total of nearly 2,200 young men have received suits, grooming, wardrobe styling and life skills programs thanks to the assistance of Concord Church, Williams Barber College, Mavs Foundation, Lombardo Custom Apparel and individual donors.
Last year was the first time the program expanded to meet the unique needs of young men with physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning disabilities or impairments.
The Dallas Mavericks would like to thank our longtime partner, Lombardo Custom Apparel, for serving as a valued member of the North Texas community. For the past 25 years, Jay Lombardo has helped the Dallas Mavericks players, coaches, staff – and now students – look their best with the company’s attentive eye and expertise. To learn more about the company, click here.