The fantastic new NFL YET Center in Jackson Heights features a regulation football field, thanks to the Glazer Family Foundation
The National Football League and the Glazer Family Foundation have a history of giving back to the community. That history was on display Tuesday at an event that promises great things for the future, the Dedication Ceremony and Grand Opening of the NFL Youth Education Town Center at Jackson Heights.
The ceremony, which took place at the brand-new, 12,000-square-foot, multipurpose facility, was attended by numerous city dignitaries and over 100 kids who attend the Jackson Heights after school program. During the dedication, Curtis Lane, assistant to Mayor Dick Greco gave a hint as to what the community hopes this newest NFL YET Center will bring
Said Lane: "This could be the cornerstone for the revitalization of Jackson Heights."
However, revitalization of the Jackson Heights neighborhood is only one likely benefit of the new facility. The mission of the NFL YET Center at Jackson Heights is to enhance the quality of life for the youth of our community by providing and maintaining recreational programs that are relevant, diversified and educational, providing intervention and prevention within a safe environment.
Greco, who was on hand for the dedication, spoke to the importance of the event. "There is nothing more important than what we do for the youth of this community," he said. "Nothing."
Greco's thoughts mirrored those of Buccaneers General Manager Rich McKay, who was also in attendance.
"One of things we always say to new players when we bring them is that we have obligations," said McKay. "We have obligations to our teammates, our fans, but most importantly to our community. Part of the obligation to our community is to give back and to try and make it a better place to live. What you see here today is a great achievement by the league, by the Glazer Family Foundation, but most importantly it's an achievement for the community."
Seeded by a $500,000 Youth Education Town grant from the National Football League, the NFL YET Center at Jackson Heights includes a computer lab, classrooms and a gymnasium and also features an outdoor regulation football field with goal posts.
In 1993, the NFL developed the YET Centers as a way to make a lasting impact in the communities that hosted the Super Bowl. To date, Tampa is the only city with two YET Centers, with the Jackson Heights facility joining the previously-dedicated Mort Recreation Center.
In recognition of the $125,000 donation from the Glazer Family Foundation, the Jackson Heights football field will be named the Glazer Family Field.
"I've got goose bumps," said Roni Costello, the Executive Director of the Glazer Family Foundation. "When we first came here they didn't have a real field or a good facility, but now they've got computers, a new indoor basketball court and a brand new football field. It really makes me feel good to know what the Glazer Family Foundation has contributed to this community."
The goose bumps may fade, but the impact the NFL Yet Center will have on Jackson Heights will be felt for many years to come.