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Bucs Leaving Lasting Impact in Community

Posted Oct 26, 2013

Halfway through the 2013 season, the Buccaneers have already found many ways to make a positive difference in the community they call home

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers near the halfway point of the 2013 season, the team’s efforts to give back to the Bay area community through a variety of outreach efforts and league platforms remain in full force. Whether through initiating a new partnership with local schools, raising funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer, celebrating the Bay Area’s Hispanic Heritage or supporting local armed forces, the Buccaneers have remained dedicated to making a difference.  Here are a few ways they have done so:

  • BUCS CARE SCHOOLS LAUNCH


 On September 9, representatives of the Glazer Family Foundation and local school districts came together to launch an area-wide partnership between the Buccaneers and Tampa Bay schools to be known as the "Bucs Care Schools" initiative. Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, Hillsborough County Public School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough County Public Schools Board Member Doretha Edgecomb, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders and Buccaneers mascot Captain Fear visited B.T. Washington Elementary School to make the exciting announcement.

"The Glazer family and the Buccaneers are committed to the youth of the Tampa Bay region," said Glazer Kassewitz. "And we feel a great way to bring resources that can have a lasting impact is through our Bucs Care Schools programming that focuses on building healthy minds and bodies. By working with the teachers, principals, and administrators, we know together we can help our youth reach their goals."

Throughout the school year, lesson plans that encourage good behavior, reading and writing will continue to be implemented in curricula before the schools receive Bucs Care School Fitness Zones featuring a Buccaneers court cover for their outdoor recreation areas. The long-term commitment will include the construction of a new Bucs Care Fitness Zones at 10 Title I Hillsborough County Schools, as well as the enrichment of the eight original Fitness Zones constructed over the past three years at local Title I schools. The ongoing program will also provide the opportunity for three additional schools to earn a Bucs Care Fitness Zone this year.

The Bucs Care School initiative aims to teach students the importance of education, nutrition and exercise, continuing the team's commitment to support youth charitable causes throughout the Bay Area. Engaging programming includes student visits to One Buccaneer Place, where children not only learn about the various professional careers in the sports industry but enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the team’s headquarters in an interactive, educational experience.

  • A HEALTHY FUTURE: FLORIDA HOSPITAL PARTNERSHIP


- Buccaneer players continue to make an impact in the Bay area community
 One day after launching the aforementioned school initiative, the Buccaneers and Florida Hospital announced a new partnership focused on improving the health of the Bay area community and beyond. Led by Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer and Adventist Health System's Florida Region President and CEO Mike Schultz, team and hospital representatives gathered to commemorate the new relationship and help launch new health initiatives designed to engage the community.

"The Buccaneers take great pride in aligning with industry leaders such as Florida Hospital," said Glazer. "This partnership will be special because it provides a real opportunity to make a difference in our region through health education. Florida Hospital has distinguished itself as the premier healthcare provider in our state and we look forward to the activation of various community-based programs and initiatives."

A large contingent of Buccaneer representatives at the event included Buccaneers Cheerleaders and staff members, team mascot Captain Fear and four players who felt right at home on an elaborate stage decorated to resemble a pirate ship: punter Michael Koenen, defensive tackle Derek Landri, linebacker Dekoda Watson and center Jeremy Zuttah. Prior to the ceremony, the players and cheerleaders visited patients within the hospital and at the event's conclusion were on hand for the unveiling of a large banner from the top of the building proclaiming it the official hospital of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • FÚTBOL AMERICANO: HISPANIC HERITAGE FIESTA


On Tuesday, September 24, Buccaneers players, Buccaneers Cheerleaders and Captain Fear visited Webb Middle School in Tampa to host a Fútbol Americano Fiesta in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas, safety Dashon Goldson, running back Doug Martin, safety Keith Tandy and linebacker Dekoda Watson led a predominantly Hispanic group of students through football drills as part of the celebration, which included salsa dancing instruction from Buccaneers Cheerleaders, a cooking station with healthy Hispanic recipes hosted by Buccaneers Chef Mike Beadles and Hispanic cultural music instruction from World Drumming Certified Teacher Nathaniel Strawbridge.

"It's good to come out and do events like this, being Hispanic myself," said Casillas, who is half-Puerto Rican. "It touches home. We got great energy and a great response from these kids, and they're very attentive and they participated very well today, so it was a great event."

The Buccaneers, along with all NFL teams, enhanced the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) with local efforts that included designated home games in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and local community outreach. The Buccaneers continued the festivities at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, September 29, when the Buccaneers hosted the Arizona Cardinals. Fans were treated to special themed events and activities designed to celebrate the region's strong Hispanic roots.

  • BREAST CANCER AWARENESS: TREASURE CHESTS 5K


The team’s community-minded efforts carried on in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as the Buccaneers announced a donation of $30,000 on October 13 to benefit the American Cancer Society, Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation and Moffitt Cancer Center. The donation coincided with the organization’s inaugural Treasure Chests 5k Run/Walk, which took place the morning of the the Buccaneers' home matchup versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

The inaugural event, with nearly 1,300 participants, was part of a successful weekend full of activities aimed at raising awareness of the issue of breast cancer and funds to help find a cure for the disease, of which there are currently more than 2.8 million survivors in United States.

"It's something we wanted to do to show our commitment to everyone here in their fight against breast cancer," said Glazer Kassewitz. "It's extremely important. Many people know somebody who is touched by breast cancer, or they may even be touched by breast cancer themselves. It's very important to get yourself checked, and encourage others to do the same, because you can save a life."

The Buccaneers' efforts are part of a larger NFL-wide program that emphasizes early screening and has raised more than $4.5 million for the American Cancer Society since 2009. The Buccaneers' breast cancer awareness efforts on Sunday included a halftime ceremony during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles that incorporated 500 Treasure Chests participants; pink and red rally towels for all fans attending the game; a "Text to Give" initiative that raised more funds for cancer research; opportunities to extend messages of hope at stadium entrances; and, of course, hundreds of pink uniform accents worn by Buccaneers and Eagles players.  In addition, the Buccaneers played host to a special group from Moffitt Cancer Center on the pirate ship, as individuals representing "Stories of Hope" were honored with a special gameday experience. To see photos and video from the breast cancer awareness event, click here

  • MILITARY APPRECIATION: READING PROGRAM, MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE EVENT SHOWCASE SALUTE TO SERVICE


On Tuesday, October 8, Buccaneers Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson spent his day off running extra routes through the Bay Area community. In an effort to launch the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation’s Salute To Readingprogram, Jackson visited three Hillsborough County elementary schools - Ballast Point, Chiaramonte, and Tinker – along with team mascot Captain Fear and Buccaneers Cheerleaders Ingrid and Tricia to promote the importance of education and unveil a program that will inspire local children to make reading improvements

Every month throughout the school year, a select number of students from the three schools will be chosen for their achievements according to criteria developed by the reading coaches and administrators at the respective schools. Those students will be invited to a special outing to One Buccaneer Place, where they will visit with Jackson and his teammates.

Jackson continued his efforts on Tuesday, October 15, when the Buccaneers and USAA, a leading insurance provider to the military community and the "Official Military Appreciation Sponsor" for the team, visited MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa to host a Salute to Service barbecue in support of local armed forces. A contingent of Buccaneer players led by Jackson that also included Mark Barron, Leonard Johnson, Chris Owusu, Keith Tandy, Tiquan Underwood and Dekoda Watson was joined by Buccaneers Cheerleaders Kari and Tricia to meet and mingle with MacDill troops over pulled pork sandwiches and hotdogs. The appreciation event was the first of many to come this fall, and one that hit close to home for Jackson, a self-proclaimed “military brat” who was raised by two parents in the armed forces.

"I always try to let these guys know that it's about them; we're not coming out here because we want the accolades of being Buccaneers," said Jackson. "We're coming out here because we want to show that the Buccaneers care about our military troops and what they do."

  • SUPPORTING FAMILIES IN NEED: METROPOLITAN MINISTRIES


Continuing a Buccaneer tradition dating back for more than two decades, quarterback Mike Glennon and the Buccaneers Rookie Class, along with Buccaneers Cheerleaders and Captain Fear, visited Metropolitan Ministries in October to lead children in games, dancing, hula hoop contests and more for Metropolitan Ministries' Fall Festival. For over 20 years, the Buccaneers have participated in the annual event, a brainchild of the LampLighters (Ladies Assisting Metropolitan People), who host the festival for the resident children at Metropolitan Ministries.

The Ministries is a nonprofit, nondenominational, faith-based organization that provides assistance for poor and homeless families. Founded in 1972, the organization offers a wide spectrum of supportive services to alleviate suffering, promote human dignity and instill self-sufficiency.

While the Buccaneers have remained busy in the community this year, there’s still plenty more to come. On Tuesday morning, the team will visit Edison Elementary School to partner with United Way for the Buccaneers’ 2013 Hometown Huddle effort – the annual League-wide initiative that provides players, coaches and staff the opportunity to coordinate a joint effort of community service activities – before hosting a Halloween Celebration for underprivileged youth at One Buccaneer Place. Be sure to stay tuned to the Community section of Buccaneers.com for continued updates on how your favorite Bucs are making a difference in the lives of others.

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