In preparation for a Chicago winter, founders of Treadmill Mentality Foundation Jevon Carter and Taylor Houston partnered with Enchanted Backpack to provide 250 Roswell B. Mason Elementary School students with winter necessities such as coats, hats and gloves. In addition to the contributions from the Treadmill Mentality Foundation, the Chicago Bulls have donated 250 beanies, ensuring that each student is prepared for the upcoming winter months, and Enchanted Backpack provided essential school supplies, books, athletic equipment and art supplies as a part of its Mobile Van Program, marking Roswell B. Mason the 312th school they have partnered with in the Chicagoland area.
Enchanted Backpack along with Carter, Houston and Benny The Bull spent the morning helping students find the perfect winter accessories. Students connected with Carter, a Chicago native, to learn about the importance of community and why he chooses to give back to his community and hometown.
“Being in North Lawndale on the West Side of Chicago, we find that our students have needs that the families have difficulty meeting. Our main priority is finding ways to alleviate that difficulty and provide the students with supplies, coats, hats, or gloves through various opportunities and partnerships,” said Roswell B. Mason Elementary School Principal Tonya Tolbert. “When this partnership came up with Enchanted Backpack, Treadmill Mentality Foundation and the Chicago Bulls, we were over the moon to accept it. Although our staff works hard to provide those necessary supplies to students, the more the better and we appreciate the help that this partnership has offered us.”
A product of the Lavin Family Foundation, Enchanted Backpack is a non-profit organization established to equip under-resourced elementary and middle school students and teachers with the tools they need to learn and excel in an exciting educational environment. Enchanted Backpack offers mobile van deliveries, donating school supplies, books, clothing, art supplies, recess equipment, board games and more to Chicagoland public, private and charter schools. Applications are accepted year-round.
“Enchanted Backpack was founded with the thought that all children and all communities deserve to have the same access to resources, and we found that this event would easily honor that commitment,” said Enchanted Backpack Co-Directors Jacob Mayer and Joe Froelich. “It's important that every kid has a good coat and the necessary supplies to learn and be successful. The natural partnership with Treadmill Mentality Foundation has been excellent in helping us continue our mission and we are grateful to partner with an amazing school located in between the neighborhood where Jevon grew up and United Center where he currently plays.”
Chicago winters can be long and cold, and winter essentials like coats can place a financial burden on families. Together, Enchanted Backpack, the Treadmill Mentality Foundation and the Bulls believe in the power of education to transform lives and enhance youth development in Chicago. By investing in education and providing students with necessities, the students have an increased opportunity to excel. The program aligns with the Chicago Bulls ongoing commitment to preventing community violence through education, community investment, health and wellness and opportunity access.
“To give back to these kids and the community means everything, especially being back home for me,” said Treadmill Mentality Foundation Co-Founder Jevon Carter. “Returning home was the whole reason Taylor and I started Treadmill Mentality Foundation. We wanted to give back to the community, experience the energy, put smiles on kids’ faces and let them know there's somebody else out there that looks just like them that came from the same city as them, encouraging them to dream big.”
Founded in 2023 as an ode to Carter’s time at West Virginia University, Treadmill Mentality Foundation is committed to enhancing the overall well-being of children and families through various community resources and initiatives. Under WVU Coach Bob Huggins, players acknowledged their mistakes with a 45-second, 18-mph treadmill sprint. After learning the goal of this punishment – to minimize mistakes and learn to maintain focus and perseverance, both on and off the court – Carter began living life with what he calls the Treadmill Mentality.