In NFL Characters Unite, Tillman meets 16-year-old Katy who, like Tillman, is from a military family. She has moved several times and struggles to start over and fit in every time her family relocates. She recently moved to Chicago, where Katy hoped she would finally be able to make friends and feel accepted. However, at her current school, where there are few military families among the 2,000 students, Katy feels more like an outcast now than ever before. Her one escape outlet has been acting. Katy’s dream is to become an actress, and she has always thrived in her theater classes. However, after being picked on constantly by her classmates, she recently dropped out of her class, giving up the one thing that made her happy and usually provided refuge from the bullying. Tillman, who can relate to Katy’s feeling like an outsider, believes no kid should have to give up what they love. He surprises her and brings her to the world famous Second City improv theater, where she works with the teacher and students on acting exercises. Unlike at school, she is welcomed and immediately accepted by the other improv students. They all team up to perform in front of a live audience. During this activity Katy gets to be herself, escape bullying, and reignite her passion for acting…realizing that she should Never Say Never to her dream.
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman grew up in a military family and spent much of his childhood moving around the world from one military base to the next. In fact, Tillman’s family moved so often that by the time he graduated high school, he had attended more than 10 schools. Throughout his youth, Tillman was always having to start over and try to make new friends. So often the new kid, he struggled to fit in and was frequently a target for bullies. He was made to feel like an outcast and called many hurtful names. Tillman personally understands how challenging life can be for kids who grow up in military households, fearing the bullies they will encounter with every move, and he is committed to providing support to these youth who want nothing more than to be accepted.