HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — While everyone is focused on the big game and the activities around it, there will be a lasting impact left in Tampa Bay with the Forever 55 Legacy Program.
With an international platform, it's a chance for the NFL to connect with causes and issues in our community and early childhood education is one of those causes.
The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County is a nonprofit program focusing on early child care and education as the foundation of a successful future. After a difficult 2020, it is thrilled with this recognition from the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee.
"We provide service to over 20,000 children, to nearly 80 percent of the child care programs in Hillsborough County," said Aakash Patel, the chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County.
When many of the daycares shut down because of the pandemic, the Early Learning Coalition stepped in to help them open back up by providing PPE and cleaning supplies, among other necessary items.
"The coalition decided to do a supply drive and we raised $93,000 to help offset some of these costs," Patel said.
That's just one of the many ways the coalition has helped providers and kids over the years.
Patel says the recognition of the importance of early learning from the Super Bowl Forever 55 Legacy Program is invaluable.
"What's great about it is that legacies, we're going to continue to work on it. It's not going to go away on February 8, when the game goes away. The community's still here, Tampa's still here and we have to talk about these six pillars including early learning all the time with our business community."
The Hillsborough Education Foundation has an event coming up on February 19th. It's call CEOs for Schools. Business professionals will be assigned to volunteer at a local elementary school to see first hand what teachers and students experience every day.
You can find complete Super Bowl coverage from 10 Tampa Bay here.