CIW YOU(th) Go Behind the Scenes with the Chicago Bulls

CIW YOU(th) get excited watching the Chicago Bulls practice before their games against the Detroit Pistons.
 As a point guard, 15-year-old Charles Tate said he looks up to Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. So having the opportunity to watch Rose shoot hoops with his teammates in matching white basketball shorts and black T-shirts was an amazing experience, he said.


“I see D. Rose as an inspiration,” the Wendell Phillips Academy High School student said at the United Center before the Bulls’ Oct. 16 game against the Detroit Pistons.
The Bulls’ assistant manager, Randy Brown, signs autographs.
Tate was one of about 30 students from the teen empowerment program CIW YOU(th) to attend the Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) Chicago Bulls Lab that Wednesday afternoon. The program exposes about 450 teenagers from Chicago Public Schools to exclusive experiences during CIW’s main October event, connects them with mentors and helps them network to success. The Bulls experience was one of several CIW YOU(th) events going on that week.

Randy Brown, assistant general manager of the Chicago Bulls, stopped by to say hello to the students before the game. He said this opportunity offers them hope.

“It’s always important for them to come in and see that the players are real people and that the majority of these NBA players have been them,” he said.

Leslie Forman, wife of Bulls’ general manager, Gar Forman, talks with teens.

The wife of the team’s general manager, Leslie Forman, also welcomed the students from their corresponding programs, such as EMBARC, Future Founders and Youth Guidance. Each is a Chicago youth program the students participate in throughout the year.
“We want them to learn to follow their passion,” Forman said.
The students also learned about the Chicago Bulls Charities, a nonprofit geared towards education, violence prevention and health and wellness, and how to build careers. Guest speakers included current public affairs intern and Northwestern University marketing graduate student, Parisa Durrani. She told the attentive listeners that she networked and researched for nearly a year before getting the internship.
Students get a behind-the-scenes look at players’ pregame rituals.
“The Bulls was always my first choice,” the Canada native said.
Darrin Collins, a chaperone from EMBARC who teaches leadership classes, said he hoped his group of boys paid close attention to the speakers.
“I hope they got the importance of networking, soft and hard job skills, as well as the importance of good communication skills,” Collins said.
All of the students watched the players practice before the game from third and fourth row of red-backed seats. Many of them couldn’t sit still from the excitement and from trying to snap photos of their favorite player passing or dunking the ball. The loud, repetitive clicks of their phones capturing images could be heard the moment the group stepped into the auditorium.

Adam Kint, 16, wins a pair of shoes signed by Bulls player Carlos Boozer.

This was the first in-person game for some of the attendees, like 17-year-old Shaquiesha Davis from Future Founders.
“I’m a die-hard Bulls fan,” the CIW YOU(th) leader said.
Attendees also participated in a raffle for items such as an autographed pair of shoes from Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, which sell for between $99 and $500 online. The lucky winner? Adam Kint, 16, from Future Founders – he wore a big smile as he raced to claim his prize.
“We want to give back,” Forman said. “This is one of our favorite things to do – connect with our future.”
*For more information on the CIW YOU(th) program and how to get involved, just reach out to*

Written by: Andrea Watson
Photography by: Andrea Watson

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