Chicago Bears player brings cheer to The Bridge

On Friday, Dec. 18, The Bridge Youth & Family Services was fortunate to be chosen as Day 13 of Charles Leno, Jr.'s "25 Days of Christmas."

Best known as the left tackle for the Chicago Bears, Charles and wife, Jennifer, began an initiative to support nonprofit organizations during the holiday season.

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Charles took on the role of being a motivational speaker for the mentors and mentees in The Bridge's Youth Advocacy Program via Zoom.

Prior to this Zoom call, Charles and Jennifer donated to The Bridge's holiday gift card drive, which provided gifts to children who are not eligible or otherwise unable to receive presents through other local holiday programs.

During the Zoom call, Charles described how mental health is a crucial part of his life and game performance. By accepting help and incorporating techniques, such as meditation, into his routine, he has seen an improvement in his focus and mental clarity.

Charles is a big believer in owning your reactions when it comes to responding to certain situations. He provided this formula: Events + Response = Outcome, and described how we cannot always control when we are put into a negative situation, like getting a flat tire. But it is how we respond that will determine what the outcome is. You can choose to respond negatively or positively to the situation at hand. You hold the power.

Charles ended the call by emphasizing to the group of young mentees, "Get good grades, stay out of trouble, learn from those around you, and work harder than everyone."

Executive Director Gregg Stockey said, "I'm happy we were able to do this, and grateful to Charles Leno for his time. This was a great experience for the children that participated. The staff enjoyed it, too. Charles touched on important life lessons. It was helpful to have them reinforced by a professional athlete."

The Bridge Youth and Family Services provides parenting skills and education, counseling, youth advocacy (mentoring) and crisis intervention. Established in 1965, The Bridge is a comprehensive, community-based charitable organization serving youth through age 17 and their families in Northwest suburban Cook County.

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