DILLEY, Texas — Like most small towns, for Dilley, Friday night football carries a lot of pride.
"This type of pride is good," Carlos Maldonado said as he sat at his kitchen table. For the man who was born and raised in Dilley, that means something, even in the toughest of times. "We sometimes barely had enough for food."
It's a narrative told frequently in this tiny town where 80% of its student population is labeled economically disadvantaged. Carlos is proving the label doesn't have to define them.
"I just wish more people would live simple. If you live simple, you can do things like this," he said.
'Things like this' are things Carlos is passionate about, having a giving spirit. This is Carlos's passion project.
"It started with my daughter being a cheerleader," he said. "She used to cheerlead for Pearsall and we noticed they used to toss t-shirts out during touchdowns things like that. So I decided, the year she came back, to invest in some small screen printing equipment. We printed t-shirts and had the cheerleaders toss them out," he said. "I love watching the kids play football, but I especially love kids smiling when the cheerleaders throw stuff at them."
Carlos continued the idea this year and turned this small project into a screen printing company, creating Dilley spirit shirts to toss at the game.
"We try to keep our prices low. We thought $10 was a decent price, but for some kids, it's still too much."
Carlos gets it. He once was that kid.
"I remember being a kid having to wear my athletic clothes. I’d have to wear that shirt to football games and basketball games, not that my parents didn't want to give me stuff, sometimes they just can’t."
The Dilley Dad is working to take 'can't' out of the scenario. For the last few nights, Maldonado has worked tirelessly in his small side business, creating spirit shirts to give to the students that simply can't afford it, free of charge.
"My joy comes from seeing people smile," he said. "Just to make them feel a part of something. We're not artists. We're not graphic designers, but we're going to do it, because for us it's not about the money we get, it's the joy in seeing someone wear something that we put our hands on."
If you are interested in getting one of Carlos’s spirit shirts you can get contact them on their Facebook page at It is Finished Screen Printing.
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