UPTOWN — A star player for the Chicago Bears is helping Uptown kids get their fitness goals off on the right foot.
Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks helped pass out 150 pairs of shoes Monday at the Pederson-McCormick Boys & Girls Club, 4835 N. Sheridan Road.
The shoes will help kids stay active and healthy during the pandemic, Hicks said.
“This being a trying time in our communities, these past few months, one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen is more kids, more people, more families being outside and having fun and staying active,” Hicks said. “I encourage you to make use of the gift we’re going to give you today, and get outside and have fun.”
Hicks joined with UnitedHealthcare of Illinois and the Dreambuilders Foundation on the gym shoe donation. UnitedHealthcare donated $15,000 to Dreambuilders, which pairs with professional athletes to provide gifts and experiences for kids in need.
“We think this is a great opportunity for you to remain active and healthy,” said Tom Kunst, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Illinois.
The shoes will go to kids enrolled at the Boys & Girls club in Uptown. Only a few dozen kids were on hand for the donation on Monday due to capacity restrictions at the club. The remaining shoes will be handed out this week.
Boys & Girls Clubs in Chicago are acting as remote learning centers for students. The clubs allow students to access computers and internet as well as get instruction from adults and lunches, said Mimi LeClair, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.
“So many children don’t have internet at home or don’t have adult supervision because their parents work,” LeClair said. “When [the kids] are together, you can see it makes them happy.”
Hicks spent part of his off day Monday at the Boys & Girls Club — after helping the Bears beat the Giants on Sunday.
“It feels good to be 2-0,” he said. “Go Bears.”
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