The Chicago Bears announced today that senior linebacker/tight end James Gildersleeve of Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest has been named the ninth and final Community High School All-Star award winner of the season. The Community High School All-Star award recognizes high school football players making a positive impact in their community and school throughout the season.
Gildersleeve and his sister, who is also a student at Lake Forest HS, started Treats for Troops two years ago to pair local families with deployed soldiers and send them monthly care packages, cards and emails to help them feel connected to their communities. Throughout the year, they work with local grocery stores and other shops to donate items and help wrap the gifts and handwrite cards. In 2019, they sent out 1,250 care packages to soldiers deployed overseas during the holidays; due to COVID-19 restrictions, they delivered the care packages to reserve units at the Naval Station Great Lakes in 2020. Additionally, they collect and ship candy overseas around Halloween and Girl Scout cookies in the spring. Recently, they also held a winter clothing drive for the Midwest Veterans Closet. Gildersleeve will be directing the $500 donation he receives for winning the award to the Equestrian Connection, which provides equine-assisted therapy programs and services for special needs children and adults.