TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Carrie Boucher as the 30th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Buffalo Sabres. Boucher, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the funds to the Neighborhood-Oriented Mobile Art and Design (NOMAD) Studio, as well as Boards for Bros and Diversity Arts.
As an art teacher, Carrie saw that access to arts funding was missing, especially in several impoverish neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area. This was when she had the idea of creating NOMAD, a mobile art classroom on a bus that traveled from neighborhood to neighborhood allowing people to drop in, feel connected and get creative. Since NOMAD's launch, Boucher has facilitated more than 28,000 art interactions with adults and students living below the poverty line. She's also made visits to events welcoming refugee families, camps for autistic children, programs for adults with developmental disabilities and residential programs for survivors of domestic abuse.
In June of 2017 Carrie began a pilot program with Head Start in Hillsborough County, which is a six-week series that teaches art enrichment, visualization, breathing exercises and other stress coping strategies to preschoolers. They close each series with a celebratory "Paint the NOMAD Art Bus" event, where the families are invited to participate. Boucher would use her donation from the Lightning Foundation to continue funding this program.
Carrie Boucher becomes the 301st Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $15.15 million to more than 400 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.