Students throughout the Bay area will now have even more opportunities to learn and grow thanks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Monday, 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.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers BUCS CARE SCHOOLS will aim to inspire, equip, and celebrate students through incentive-based programs and monthly challenges that provide fun, engaging, and motivating opportunities to learn.
“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.”
The Washington students may not yet understand the extent of the program's reach, but they were thrilled simply to interact with the Buccaneers and learn how much the team and Foundation care about their futures.
“These students are absolutely over the edge,” said Elia. “They’re just so excited about having Captain Fear here, and having the cheerleaders and the great people from the Bucs organization here to support them. I think we’re going to see a real focus of our students on saying, ‘I can do this,’ and, ‘I can be like the Bucs out there working hard to be successful.’”
Throughout the school year, lesson plans that encourage good behavior, reading and writing will be implemented in curricula throughout the fall before the schools receive BUCS CARE SCHOOL Fitness Zones featuring a Buccaneers court cover for its outdoor recreation area. The Buccaneer-themed court covers inspire physical activity by allowing more children to play outside with less risk of sun exposure and heat exhaustion during their physical education periods.
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.
“As a football team we believe in fitness, and we know that if they have a shade cover, these children will want to be out there for longer periods of time in comfortable play,” said Glazer Kassewitz. “That’s very important to us.”
In addition to an educational game plan and fitness zone, BUCS CARE SCHOOLS are receiving brand new Tampa Bay Buccaneers backpacks and school supplies to help inspire Bay Area students to excel in the classroom. The BUCS CARE SCHOOLS program will impact more than 10,000 students throughout the area with engaging programming and enhanced school curricula, highlighted by motivational visits from Buccaneers players and cheerleaders, opportunities to tour One Buccaneer Place and participation in the Glazer Family Foundation Vision Mobile. The Vision Mobile is a kid-friendly eye-examination bus that has already provided free vision screenings and eyeglasses to thousands of Florida children in need.
“When they see that backpack, and believe me, they will have it every day, the teacher can say to them, ‘Look at the Buccaneers backpack you’ve got, remember we promised we’d work on reading, remember we promised we’d work on writing?’ said Elia. “All of those things are going to be a constant reminder. Plus, the players coming into the school continues to keep that connection of success coming through hard work.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play an active role in youth development through a variety of health and education initiatives with players, coaches, cheerleaders and staff. With an increased emphasis on youth health and wellness, the Buccaneers' PLAY 60 Challenge and BUCS CARE SCHOOL initiative help teach students the importance of education, nutrition and exercise, renewing the team's commitment to aid charitable youth causes throughout the Bay Area.“The support we’re getting from the Buccaneers organization, to have our students make that connection is wonderful,” added Elia. “All of it really stimulates higher academics, so we’re thrilled with partnership.”