Representatives from eight Bay area organizations toured the Buccaneers headquarters on Thursday before receiving grants totaling $29,000 from the Glazer Family Foundation, which focuses on the health, safety and recreation of disadvantaged youth
Tyler Hernandez, a 12-year-old athlete with the Tampa Bay Crossfire, was guiding his powered wheelchair through the halls of One Buccaneer Place on Thursday when he happened across the one man he was most anxious to meet.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were conducting practice at the time, but Galloway had been given the morning off. He was in the locker room when Hernandez and a fellow member of the Crossfire, a power soccer team, came through on a tour. It was a fortuitous moment for Hernandez or, as the young visitor said, it was…
"Awesome! He's my favorite wide receiver in the league. I love to watch him play."
The chance to chat with his favorite player was an added bonus for Hernandez. The real reason for his visit, and that of several dozen other members of the Bay area community, was the Glazer Family Foundation's presentation of its fall grants.
After the Buccaneers' morning practice on Thursday, Executive Vice President Bryan Glazer presented eight local organizations with grants totaling more than $29,000 on behalf of the Glazer Family Foundation. The Foundation awards grants twice each year to Central and West Central Florida programs focused on the health, safety and recreation of disadvantaged youth. This summer, the foundation awarded over $26,000 in assistance to six nonprofit organizations during the Buccaneers training camp.
Hernandez was on site as a representative of the xAble Sports Foundation in Tampa, which will use the Glazer Family Foundation's grant to support its power soccer program. The initiative provides individuals with physical disabilities with valuable recreational opportunities.
Representatives from all eight organizations arrived at the Buccaneers headquarters early in order to receive a tour of the place during the team's morning practice. The group then headed out to the field to watch a portion of the workout before receiving their checks and commemorative plaques. The guests were then invited into the facility for lunch, sharing the dining room with Buccaneers players.
Like most of his fellow guests, Hernandez was blown away by the Buccaneers' new headquarters.
"It was so cool," he said. "I kept thinking how lucky the players are to be able to use it."
In addition to the xAble Sports Foundation, the following organizations received grants from the Glazer Family Foundation on Thursday:
- Brookwood Florida-Central (St. Petersburg) – Brookwood will use its grants to purchase new mattresses and box spring sets for their residents. The new bed sets will replace 20 old bed sets that are deteriorating due to age and wear. * Directions for Mental Health (Clearwater) – Its new funds will pay for materials that aid in sand play therapy sessions involved in treatments for children aged 10 and younger. * Girls Incorporated of Pinellas – The GFF grant will partially fund a new Reading Club Literacy Initiative as part of the organization's Operation SMART Plus. * Healthy Start Coalition (Hardee, Highlands & Polk Counties) – The Coalition will use its grant to purchase safety-approved cribs. * Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco – Its grant will help pay for portable exhibits of the Heart Gallery for special events, community projects and activities. The Heart Gallery funds and displays professional portraits of foster children available for adoption. * The Pier Aquarium (St. Petersburg) – The aquarium will use the provided funds to sponsor a children's fishing tournament. * Give A Kid A Camera (Bradenton) – The organization will use its grant to purchase equipment for a children's photography class.
Dominic, a 15-year-old representative of the Heart Gallery, enjoyed the visit to One Buccaneer Place as much as the award ceremony.
"The grant will really help, and today was fun," he said. "It means a lot that the Glazers wanted us to experience this."