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Bears volunteer at 'A Safe Place' shelter


Former Bears running back Garrett Wolfe was part of the volunteer effort at 'A Safe Place.'

About 60 Bears employees—including a handful of former players—spent last Friday morning helping to renovate a domestic violence shelter in Waukegan.

During the volunteer visit to "A Safe Place," the group led by Bears chairman George H. McCaskey painted walls, ripped up carpeting, installed a fence and demolished a kitchen. In addition, the Bears are making a $75,000 donation to the shelter to help with the project.

"We had an amazing day where a Halas Hall team of staff as well as [from] Soldier Field came in two huge buses to help us remodel our second floor where we have 10 bedrooms," said Pat Davenport, executive director of "A Safe Place."

"They did amazing. Now the rooms are looking beautiful. The rooms had not been painted in almost 25 years and they actually removed all the carpet as well. It just looks wonderful."

Former Bears players who participated in the volunteer visit included Jason McKie, Adrian Peterson, Garrett Wolfe and Mickey Pruitt.

"A Safe Place" provides safe housing and supportive counseling options to survivors of domestic violence at no charge. Additional services include abuser intervention groups, and education programs for professionals, students and the community-at-large.

According to its website, the organization is the sole provider of services exclusively addressing domestic violence in Lake County. Through multi-faceted programs, "A Safe Place" assists victims in transforming their lives after domestic violence, prevents future abuse by addressing its root cause through abuser intervention programs, and educates the community about domestic violence.

"We provide wrap-around services all the way from a crisis call to an order of protection to emergency shelter when a person is fleeing their home," Davenport said. "What we have found is due to the comprehensive services, 94 percent of our clients do not go back to their abusers."

The Bears have partnered with "A Safe Place" since 1998.

"They have helped us in many ways," Davenport said. "When we built a facility of 20 apartments initially in Zion, they helped us with our capital campaign. They have helped us ever since either providing us with volunteers, financial support, moral support; you name it. The Bears are incredible and they've offered unbelievable support to 'A Safe Place' throughout the years. It's been wonderful."

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