The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Ed Ross as the fifth Lightning Community Hero of the year this morning at Community Stepping Stones, located in Tampa. Ross, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Community Stepping Stones.
Ross is a tireless advocate for the Hillsborough River and is also known for changing the lives of the youth in the Sulphur Springs area through creating art. Ross converted an abandoned crack house and converted it into an arts education center that is now called Community Stepping Stones. Using art and environmental activities, Ross motivated youth to aspire to be more and to have a sense of pride for their own community. The center is a place where at-risk teens can go to be mentored and inspired through art curriculum.
As an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, Ross knows how to motivate youth and boost their self-esteem through self-expression. Ross wants the youth to get off the streets and learn essential communication and job skills that will enable a brighter future. The center that he started in 2003 manages successful enterprises that employ youth and steer them away from dead-end street life.