TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Deeksha Gollamudi as the 10th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Ottawa Senators. Gollamudi, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate half to Loving You Where You Are At, while the other half will go towards a scholarship for her own education.
Deeksha recently moved from Australia to Tampa and was inspired to volunteer due to her curiosity and desire to learn more about the community. She quickly learned about the untold stories of the overwhelming homeless population, underprivileged students and human trafficking in the Tampa Bay community. Gollamudi has contributed more than 150 hours of community service through volunteering events at Trinity Cafe, A Brighter Community, Metropolitan Ministries, amoung several other organizations. She is also the Vice President of the Mayors Youth Leadership Council of Tampa Bay and created a weekly musical performance program at Brooksdale Bayshore, a local assisted living home.
Gollamudi's community service initiative will support the efforts of Loving You Where You Are At, an outreach program led by survivors for victims of the commercial sex industry and human traffiking. This grant will provide a 12-month, 3 step program for the treatment of survivors which includes trauma therapy and GED training. It will also help develop the "Butterfly House", a place of rehabilitation for women who have been sexually exploited/trafficked. The grant will help fund therapists and house moms as well as new furniture and decorations. The main goal is to help survivors develop life skills that will allow them to re-enter society with confidence and seld-esteem.
Deeksha Gollamudi becomes the 333rd 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 $16.75 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.