TAMPA, Fla. — As part of Game 3 of the first round of the NHL playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning took a moment to honor local educators with a special donation.
In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 2-8, the Bolts honored teachers as their Community Heroes during the first period of Friday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Lightning Foundation and the Community Heroes program announced a $50,000 grant that will be shared by the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Education foundations, which help make sure teachers have the resources they need.
In a statement, the Bolts praised teachers as playing an important role in the lives of Tampa Bay area kids. The team thanked area educators who have been creating a welcoming and caring environment where children can feel comfortable learning and growing.
"Teachers can change the world for a child, showing them they can reach their fullest potential and potentially changing the trajectory of their lives," the Bolts wrote. "Their guidance and mentorship truly can be the difference in a child’s life, and that is why they are community heroes."
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife Penny introduced the Community Hero program back in 2011. Including the donation from Friday's game, the Lightning Foundation has granted a whopping $25.75 million to more than 600 nonprofits around Tampa Bay in the years since.
Last summer, the Viniks vowed the program would donate another $10 million over the next five seasons, according to a Lightning spokesperson.
If you are interested in learning more or supporting the Lightning Foundation, click here.