Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and UnitedHealthcare gave the children at SOS Illinois the surprise of a lifetime. On September 14, Hicks and UnitedHealthcare provided new shoes to 170 children in foster care. In celebration of the beginning of another academic year, SOS Illinois staff, Foster Parents, and children participated in a socially-distanced parade of shoes at the Chicago Village. Also included was dinner for each family and a quick photo opportunity with Akiem. Once again, Chicago Bears’ Akiem Hicks became the life and sole of our Village party.
SOS Illinois Welcomes Akiem Hicks
Following a visit with members of the press, Akiem was welcomed by our families during a socially-distanced parade. Families, all proudly displaying handmade signs and posters welcomed the Chicago Bears Defensive End with cheers. Hicks greeted SOS Illinois families with a pair of shoes for each child and a wide smile.
Hicks Gifts the Children with a New Set of Kicks
A $15,000 UnitedHealthcare grant to the Dreambuilders Foundation funded the purchase of the new shoes. Akiem Hicks and Mike Telesky, VP, UnitedHealthcare were both on hand to distribute the shoes. The children were beyond excited to have a new pair of shoes, but they were just as impressed with having an amazing professional athlete take time out of his schedule just for them.
A special thanks goes to Fit Together for sponsoring dinner from Panera for our families to take home. Our Foster Parents were incredibly grateful!
Gratitude for Akiem Hicks and the UnitedHealthCare
We are thankful for the support, empowerment, and kindness of Akiem Hicks and UnitedHealthcare, as well as for the hard work of staff and volunteers. Together, we are creating stronger futures for youth in foster care, and inspiring the next generation of leaders on – and off the football field.
We also are fortunate that Akiem Hicks shared holiday gifts last season with our children, as well as spent time in 2019 prior to the pandemic at our Chicago Village for an exciting back to school event called Tailgate Tuesday.
Hicks’ Visit to SOS Illinois In the News
Prior to distributing the shoes to our children, Hicks took a moment to speak with the media. Coverage included a number of outlets. Check out the stories on NBCChicago and the Chicago Tribune.
Get Involved with SOS Illinois Just Like Akiem Hicks
Feeling encouraged to get involved with our organization? Find your perfect fit at Becoming a Foster Parent, Careers & Internships, Volunteers, or Giving!
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