Along with the NHL's mandated programs, the Tampa Bay Lightning have created their own foundation department to make their community a better place to live. The Lightning Foundation will focus on the advancement of amateur hockey and education enrichment to the Tampa Bay communities. The Lightning has also currently developing a program that gives medical research and treatment for those in need. The Lightning's"GOAL" is to make Tampa Bay a better place to live, work and play!" (www.tampabaylightning.com).
Some of the Lightning Foundation activities include:
ThunderBug, Tampa Bay's mascot promotes the importance of reading through an interactive presentation of "GoldieBug and the Three Bears." Through this presentation, the Lightning Foundation hopes to make reading "cool" for youngsters. Through this program, the Lightning donates $15,000 to four schools that improve their third grade STAR scores. As part of the incentive, schools that participate will receive Thunderbug posters autographed by ThunderBug and defensive player Jassen Cullimore, and "ThunderBug's GoldieBug and the Three Bears" books for each student.
Lightning Career Day and the Great American Teach-In:
Students of all ages have the opportunity to come to the Ice Palace and learn about careers in hockey. During the Great American Teach-In Lightning staff and players visit a number of schools to make hockey career presentations to students.
Fan Development Programs:
To create a larger hockey fan base in the Tampa Bay area, the Lightning have created fan development programs. These programs include: Breakout, Street Lightning, ThunderBug's Fun Club, the Hockey symposium, Rink of Dreams, Intermission Challenge, the Tampa Bay Lightning Clinic Program, Hockey and Heels / Hockey 101 and the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey School. Through these programs, the Lightning teach the fundamentals of hockey as well as promote health and education to Tampa Bay's youth.
During the holidays the Lightning continue to give back to the community. Lightning players wives collect packaging food and meals for families in the Tampa Bay area. Each November, the wives also participate in the Marine Corps Toys For Tots Program and ask for toy donations from the community.
A special Christmas party each year is hosted by the Lightning Foundation to help make the holidays for children suffering from cancer and their families a little merrier. Players, coaches, and staff are on hand to give presents, sign autographs, and give tickets to up-coming hockey games.
© 2002 Nancy Benton Parish