Today, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the Forever 55 Health and Wellness Program, one of the pillars of the committee's primary social legacy initiative. A comprehensive effort to support the physical, social and emotional health of children in the East Tampa community, the long-term program will be carried out by Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and staff, in collaboration with Hillsborough County Public Schools and the City of Tampa, and deliver a wide range of health and wellness resources that build up students for future success.
"Our children are the foundation of the Tampa Bay community, and there is no greater importance than their health and wellbeing," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers Co-owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. "The Buccaneers are committed to supporting their development in mind, body and spirit, and we are proud to enhance this process through programming, resources and relationships that will leave a lasting legacy for Super Bowl LV and our youth."
Forever 55 includes a $2 million investment by the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and the NFL, via the NFL Foundation, focusing on pillars that best reflect the needs in the Tampa Bay community. Along with health and wellness, the pillars of early childhood education, food insecurity, families, sustainability, and systemic justice represent the commitment to moving the Tampa Bay community Forward. Forever. Together.
"The success and everlasting impact of Forever 55 relies on strategic partners like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are committed to supporting mission-driven work and sustainable programming addressing the most important needs of our community," said Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee Chief Operating Officer Claire Lessinger. "Teaming up to help elevate the impact of this long-term health and wellness initiative in East Tampa is a game-winning touchdown for Forever 55 and our community."
Through the Forever 55 Health and Wellness Program, the physical fitness of East Tampa students will be supported through virtual and in-person instruction, fitness equipment and technology. P.E. teachers will receive FitnessGram, an educational software to help measure key data for improving youth fitness in the fight against childhood obesity. The tool allows teachers to track fitness levels at the individual, class, school, district, or state level and make informed decisions on curriculum development and public policy.
Physical education classes will be enhanced through the donation of Buccaneers fitness equipment, monthly instructional videos featuring players and mascot Captain Fear, and incentive prizes to encourage maximum effort and behavior in school. To help teach safe participation in the game of football, local schools are also receiving Buccaneers flag football equipment, complemented by instruction from Buccaneers Legends and youth football coaches, to encourage participation in middle school flag football and flag leagues throughout the City of Tampa.
The Health and Wellness Program will also support healthy eyesight for local youth, as one in four children are affected by vision impairment and one in five children cannot afford eye care. East Tampa students will receive free vision screenings and prescription glasses through the Glazer Vision Foundation's Mobile Vision Clinic, which is staffed by doctors, nurses and eye care specialists and features an eye exam area, prescription lens lab and a full selection of eyeglass frames. For over a decade, the Glazer Vision Foundation has been committed to full-treatment vision correction for underserved children, services that will be amplified in the East Tampa community.
"To have the Buccaneers and the Super Bowl come together to make an impact on the youth in East Tampa is immeasurable for us," said City of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. "These young children are the future of our city, so to be able to support their health physically, emotionally, educationally – and really build them from the inside, out, really sets our students on a better path for success."
Among the components of the Health and Wellness initiative is the team's Youth Leadership Program, a first-of-its-kind commitment to provide mentorship to students at Young Middle Magnet School, a Creative Science Centre in the heart of East Tampa. Players and staff are mentoring 25 students at the Title I school that specializes in hands-on learning through its STEM curriculum. The team hosts group workshops that tackle social and emotional development and aim to empower the mentees to become leaders in their school and community.
In addition, the Forever 55 initiative will ensure that City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Centers in East Tampa receive Character Playbook, an innovative digital learning experience that uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships. The course engages students in interactive educational activities that challenge them to better understand their own values and relationships with others.
"Our students are incredibly fortunate to have support from the Buccaneers, both as mentors and motivators," said Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis. "Professional athletes have tremendous influence on young people in our community, and this investment in their wellbeing sets these learners on the path to healthy and productive lives. This beautiful partnership is developing our children into active individuals, which will lead them on a path to success both in and outside the classroom."
"The Forever 55 Legacy Program goes well beyond the Super Bowl," added Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee Co-chair Derrick Brooks. "When you look at these pillars and you see the word 'legacy,' you know this will go well-beyond the game. This will be sustained throughout our community for years to come, and that's a win for Tampa Bay."