The Chicago Bears were excited to kick off the 20th season of Bears School Outreach on Tuesday, September 19! Each year, the Chicago Bears and Youth Guidance partner on the Bears School Outreach program. As part of Bears School Outreach, Chicago Bears players visit Chicago Public Schools to visit with students who are part of Youth Guidance's B.A.M (Becoming a Man) and W.O.W. (Working on Womanhood) programs.
Bears punter Pat O'Donnell at a Bears School Outreach event.
B.A.M. focuses on six core values, including Integrity, Accountability, Self-Determination, Positive Anger Expression, Visionary Goal Setting, and Respect for Womanhood. W.O.W. focuses on five core values, including Self-Awareness, Emotional Intelligence, Healthy Relationships, Visionary Goal-Setting, and Leadership.
The kick-off event took place at Jordan Community Academy, where kicker Connor Barth and punter Patrick O'Donnell joined Bears Vice President Patrick McCaskey during an assembly for 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Following the assembly, they participated in a B.A.M. session with 25 of the 8th grade students.
During B.A.M and W.O.W. sessions, the players and students are asked to "check-in" by saying how they are feeling physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Once everyone checks in, the B.A.M. and W.O.W. counselors will lead the session, either focusing on one of the core values, or on an issue that a student or students may be struggling with.
The sessions offer an open forum for students to discuss what is on their minds and hearts, and get feedback from their peers and leaders. The Bears players participate freely in the discussions, often sharing challenges that they faced growing up, which students are usually surprised to find aren't much different from what they are facing today.