As the Bears were preparing for the football season on the practice field, Bears Care, the charitable beneficiary of the Chicago Bears, was helping students prepare for a successful school year. On Saturday, July 27, Bears Care, Catholic Charities – Diocese of Joliet, and TeamSmile joined together to host the 2013 Back-to-School Fair on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University.
Over 1,100 deserving students from the Kankakee area attended along with their parents. This important community event connected low-income families in Kankakee County to a wide range of greatly needed services focused on preparing children for the upcoming school year, and helped foster connections with local organizations that can provide support throughout the year. Children had the opportunity to access audiology screening courtesy of EarQ, school physicals, and haircuts by enthusiastic volunteers from The Paul Mitchell School. TeamSmile provided free dental screening and comprehensive dental treatment. Parents took advantage of on-site audiology, diabetes and blood pressure screenings, with those at risk being scheduled for follow-up care.
The day was also about fun! Guests were entertained by Staley Da Bear, danced to music provided by DJ Kirby, and enjoyed visiting with face painters and balloon artists in attendance. Several members of the Chicago Bears and Head Coach Marc Trestman stopped in after practice to show their support as well. Children departed with school supplies for the upcoming year, a selection of new books for at-home reading provided by Bernie's Book Bank, and a healthy lunch.
Bears Care would like to thank Encompass Championship Charities for their support in making the event possible, and all of the volunteers and participating organizations that made the 2013 Back-to-School Fair a great success.