TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Naseem Hamed as the 34th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Ottawa Senators. Hamed, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate half to Pinellas Education Foundation, while the other half will go towards a scholarship for his own education.
Naseem has been a dedicated mentor and volunteer ever since his own mentor inspired him to help others. Hamed's parents immigrated from Palestine and only spoke Arabic at home so they were unable to help him with school. He was then given a mentor who pushed for him to be accepted into the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) program in sixth grade. After getting involved with this program Hamed began volunteering and mentoring many groups including; STEM Robotics students, the National Honor Society and an after-school literacy camp program. He also led a volunteer project to help high school students in Pinellas County Schools track their graduation requirements through a special website and portal called "Pathway".
Naseem plans to expand Future Plans, a career and college preparatory program that makes sure students, including Take Stock students, have the best information in deciding what career path to pursue to increase their chances of success later. He also is looking to strengthen the communication platform with the TSIC students who are currently in college to make sure that they are still getting the most out of the program. With his background of coming from a low-income household and the guidance from his TSIC mentor Hamed is truly motivated to develop this initiative.
Naseem Hamed becomes the 358th 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 $17.9 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.