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Kids showed up at school to a group of men literally cheering for them. Well done, sirs.

What a beautiful way to show the kids in your community that you care about them.

Kids showed up at school to a group of men literally cheering for them. Well done, sirs.

A large group of snazzily dressed men gathered outside a Connecticut public school on the first day of classes.

Nah, it wasn't time for parent-teacher conferences. And it wasn't an executive retreat that just happened to be walking by. This was a group gathering to cheer students on their first day of school.


DeVaughn Ward and Pastor AJ Johnson organized the event after seeing a group of men in Atlanta pull off a similar affair. They took to social media, and faster than you could say "What are you up to on the first day of school?" a group of upstanding gents from the community showed up to cheer on students at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Hartford, Connecticut.

“We have insurance executives. We have attorneys. We have TV producers. ... We have banking executives. We have nonprofit executives, law enforcement, firefighters, chefs," Ward told Eyewitness 3 in Hartford. "We wanted the youth to see us as professionals in whatever capacity that's in," he said. "We wanted to give them something to aspire to."

This array of professional gents greeted each student on their first day of school with a smile, a cheer, and a high five of encouragement.

“They need to know education matters. They need to know there are people there supporting them. Even if they don't know their names," Brian Martin, one of the event's participants, told Eyewitness 3.

And it wasn't just a few folks. Around 100 men came to cheer on the kids in their community.

Photos by Keith Claytor of TimeFrozen photography.

They offered high fives to adorably confused, embarrassed, and happy children.

Sounds of "awww" were no doubt reported.

Little hands and big hands clapped! A first day of school high five for everyone!

The kind of welcome usually reserved for football stars was given to each and every child that day.

All the smiling faces and happy kids and bow ties! Is this a Norman Rockwell painting?

No! It's real!

Seriously, I'm jealous of these kids AND of all these awesome grown-ups.

What a beautiful way to show up for the kids in your community.

Literally show up. I love it so much.

Hearing about success is one thing. But seeing it is something completely different. And for kids going to their first day of school amid cheers from the most successful men in their community, seeing is believing.

So much happiness. I can't.

After doing a little research about this awesome event in Connecticut, I started finding similar events happening all across the country.

That's right! This magical event is contagious! These folks from Connecticut were inspired by Atlanta ... but that is SO not where this magic stops!

In Pittsburgh:

Video via WTAE.

In West Palm Beach, Florida:

Video via WPTV.

In Omaha, Nebraska!

Video via WOWT.

Some of these gatherings were independently organized, and some were a part of a movement called the Million Fathers March, which began in 2004 as a group of men committed to their children's academic success.

It's such a sweet way to bring a community together and make a great world for our kids. This is a great start.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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