TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Erin Hanson as the 36th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Boston Bruins. Hanson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate half of the funds to the Positive Coaching Alliance Student-Athlete Mentor Program, while the other half will go towards a scholarship for her own education.
Erin, a freshman at the University of Tampa, has a diverse volunteering background through helping at animal shelters, Relay for Life and Angel's Attic. Hanson has collected over 300 hours of community service and served as the senior advisor for her high school's chapter of Key Club. Erin has also always been involved in sports, but as she got older she was told that sports were for boys. Through her transition from middle school to high school, she saw the number of girls trying out for sports teams drop dramatically. Because of this, she decided to take part in a program that teaches young women about the importance of athletics, health and fitness.
Hanson's initiative is a program that will train high school student-athletes to serve as mentors for children participating in community sports programs with the goal of keeping kids involved in sports. The proposed PCA Student-Athlete Mentor Program would be overseen by faculty members at local high schools. Student-athletes will attend monthly meetings to be trained in PCA curriculum, identify community sports programs to support, plan future mentoring events and discuss positive outcomes of mentoring events.
Erin Hanson becomes the 307th 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 $15.45 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.