A child plays with LEGO bricks

USO of Illinois and BMO Harris Bank host a virtual experience for military youth


Many of us are looking for ways to make a difference during the COVID-19 crisis, including BMO Harris Bank’s Veteran’s Advisory Council, an enterprise resource group that provides fellowship and support to BMO employees who are military veterans. Recently, they teamed up with USO Of Illinois to host a virtual creative experience for children of active duty medical and medical support staff.

Children from 25 Navy families with a sailor working at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center were invited to participate in USO Discovery Kids: Builder Bonanza, a virtual experience featuring interactive LEGO building sessions. Children built their own space shuttles with program leader and LEGO Master Creative Builder Matt Pino. The event, intended to stimulate creativity during the COVID-19 pandemic, is the fourth such session hosted by USO of Illinois and BMO.

“It’s uncertain times like these when community support truly means so much to the service members, spouses and military youth. BMO Harris Bank has made a commitment to stand beside the USO, while together we recognize the service and sacrifice of the entire military family. Because of BMO’s unwavering support, USO Discovery Kids: Builder Bonanza sessions have supported 100 military families, which includes nearly 215 military youth. The USO of Illinois is incredibly fortunate to have BMO as a partner,” says Carrie Norwood, Programs Manager at USO of Illinois.

BMO and USO of Illinois have a longstanding relationship, and BMO has supported many USO STEAM/STEM youth programs over the years.

“This experience was awesome. We have LEGOs at home, but the interaction with other kids and someone giving instructions and LEGO facts made the experience so special,” says the mother of a participant. “It’s great to connect with other people and build together while being apart. It made us feel like there’s more people out there – and we’re not alone.”

During these unprecedented times, BMO is living its Purpose, Boldly Grow the Good – in business and life, and going above and beyond to help those who are being affected by COVID-19. Learn more about how employees are reaching out to their communities.



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