"Tell Lovie Smith I said what's up," remarked an Allendale student as he raised with his hand in excitement during an assembly with Chicago Bear defensive players D.J. Moore and Nate Collins.
Both Moore and Collins presented Christmas gifts to 60 Allendale youth, ranging from ages 10 to 18, at the Lake Villa, IL-based treatment center. Allendale Association is a private not-for-profit agency specializing in child, youth and family welfare, mental health and special education services.
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As the defensive players arrived at Allendale, they were greeted with multiple signs made by the students. In addition, orange and blue ribbons were tied around several trees that sit at the entrance of the 120-acre Allendale campus.
Both Moore and Collins played a little dodge ball with the students before they conducted a question and answer session about football and life as an athlete.
But the real excitement came when the pair presented the students with Christmas gifts cards and a 60-inch LG TruSlim Frame TV and pool table for the Allendale games-room.
The event at Allendale was organized by Bears Care, the philanthropic arm of the Chicago Bears that works with the players to support education, youth athletics, and medical research and health awareness programs.
"The Chicago Bears have a longstanding tradition of supporting numerous charities and assisting those in need," said Marge Hamm, Director of Bears Care. "Bears Care values its partnership with Allendale and is happy to have had the opportunity to support our players who so generously gave of their time and resources to make the holiday season a little brighter for the kids Allendale serves."
Judging from the beaming smiles on the faces of the students as they received their gift cards and goody bags filled with candy and other treats, the kids value the partnership with the Bears as well.
"Our kids are so grateful for this opportunity and moment," said Allendale President Mary Shahbazian. "For so many of our youth, Christmas can be a bitter-sweet time; often they are separated from their family or don't have a family to connect with. When organizations like the Bears take the time to make our kids smile, the impression is a lasting one."
For more information about the Allendale Association, please visit Allendale4kids.org or call 847-245-6279.
About The Allendale Association:
Founded in 1897, the Allendale Association is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to excellence and innovation in care, treatment, education and advocacy for young people and their families who suffer from the profound impact of devastating life circumstances resulting in severe emotional, mental health and post traumatic-stress disorders. Allendale is one of the largest residential treatment centers in Illinois for children and adolescents from ages 7 to 21. Currently, the Allendale Association serves over 1,260 children, adolescents, young adults and families in need annually through our counseling, education, foster care and residential programs. For more information about the Allendale Association, please visit www.allendale4kids.org.