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Bears bring holiday cheer to Allendale

Chicago Bears defensive back D.J. Moore (Left) defensive lineman Nate Collins present special holiday gift students Allendale Lake Villa. |

Chicago Bears defensive back D.J. Moore (Left) and defensive lineman Nate Collins present a special holiday gift to students at Allendale in Lake Villa. | SPECIAL TO SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: February 9, 2013 6:07AM

Allendale students raised their hands in excitement as they were prepared and eager to answer football questions during an assembly with Chicago Bears defensive players D.J. Moore and Nate Collins just days before Christmas.

As the defensive players arrived at Allendale in Lake Villa, they were greeted with signs made by the students.

In addition, orange and blue ribbons were tied around several trees that sit at the entrance of the 120-acre Allendale campus.

Both Moore and Collins also played a little dodge ball with the students before they conducted a question/answer session about football and life as an athlete.

But the real excitement came when the pair presented the students with Christmas gifts cards and a 60-inch LG TruSlim Frame TV and pool table for the Allendale games-room.

A special acknowledgement was given to Abt and Brunswick Billiards for their assistance with this special holiday delivery.

Both Moore and Collins also presented Christmas gifts to 60 Allendale youth, ranging from age 10-18, at the treatment center.

Allendale Association is a private, not-for-profit agency specializing in child, youth and family welfare, mental health and special education services.

The event at Allendale was organized by Bears Care, the philanthropic arm of the Chicago Bears that works with the players to support education, youth athletics, and medical research and health awareness programs.

“The Chicago Bears have a longstanding tradition of supporting numerous charities and assisting those in need,” said Marge Hamm, director of Bears Care. “Bears Care values its partnership with Allendale and is happy to have had the opportunity to support our players who so generously gave of their time and resources to make the holiday season a little brighter for the kids Allendale serves.”

Judging from the beaming smiles on the faces of the students as they received their gift cards and goody bags filled with candy and other treats, the kids value the partnership with the Bears as well.

“Our kids are so grateful for this opportunity and moment,” said Allendale president Mary Shahbazian. “For so many of our youth, Christmas can be a bitter-sweet time; often they are separated from their family or don’t have a family to connect with. When organizations like the Bears take the time to make our kids smile, the impression is a lasting one.”

Currently, the Allendale Association serves 1,260 children, adolescents, young adults and families in need annually through counseling, education, foster care and residential programs.

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