Over the years, they have generously supported Mercy Home’s academic and vocational guidance and resources programming, ensuring our children have the support they need to achieve their dreams.
“We are an organization that absolutely loves giving back to the community that we live in,” said Brett Anthon, manager of community relations for the Bulls.
“We’re not blind to what’s going on around our campus, and we work with a lot of corporate sponsors that feel the same way. And our hope is that everything we do provides an opportunity for somebody to get past or break barriers that they’re having in their lives.”
In supporting Mercy Home, the Bulls have indeed helped countless children break through barriers. Many kids enter our care several grade levels behind their peers in school, but thanks to the resources the Bulls help provide, they are able to get back on track academically.
And given the affinity many of our children have for the game of basketball, there is one program in particular the Bulls support that is very special to them: Hoops to Homework.
Hoops to Homework is a competitive basketball league that keeps our kids motivated to achieve their academic and behavioral goals while instilling the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship.
“That program really hits everything that we focus on,” Anthon said.
“Our community focus areas include youth education, youth health and wellness, violence prevention, and military and first responder support. The Hoops to Homework program in particular hits on youth education, rewarding students who are succeeding in the classroom; youth health and wellness, keeping students active; and violence prevention in giving youth an outlet and teaching them the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship.”
Along with our friends at TransUnion and Swish House, the Bulls go above and beyond to make Hoops to Homework a special experience for our kids. The season begins with an NBA-style draft, typically attended by a representative from the Bulls, like legendary player Bob Love.
And in years past, our youth have been treated to playing the championship game at the Bulls’ practice facility. But this past year, the stakes were raised and our kids played their championship at the United Center.
“It was just crazy,” said Taiveon, who played in last year’s championship game.
“You look up every once in a while, and you look out: Jordan’s jersey is right there, Scottie Pippen – their jerseys are up there hanging. We had the commentators too – it was crazy.”
Yet that isn’t the only time the Bulls have wowed our children.
In years past, different Bulls players have attended shopping events with our children at Christmastime to help them buy gifts.
Most recently, Bulls guard Kris Dunn treated our children to a Christmas shopping spree at the Adidas store on the Magnificent Mile.
“It’s not just them, our players get a lot from these experiences as well,”
While these unique opportunities create memories for our children that will last a lifetime, they aren’t the only ones who are benefiting from these experiences.
“It’s not just them, our players get a lot from these experiences as well,” Anthon said.
“Because when you look at our team and how young we are – we have guys on the team that are 19-years-old – so they see a lot of themselves when they’re coming to Mercy Home, and kind of what they’ve been through in their lives. So, it’s their opportunity to reflect back at, ‘I may have been that kid four or five years ago, and now look at where I am and what I’ve been able to accomplish. How can I help them in achieving their goals?”
The continued support from our friends at the Bulls truly is a blessing, and we could not be more grateful. Their gifts empower our children to overcome the challenges of their pasts and discover their potential.