TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Skye Schmelzer as the second Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the New Jersey Devils. Schmelzer, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate $25,000 to the USF Foundation and receive a scholarship grant of $25,000 to assist in her educational pursuits.
Skye Schmelzer suffered through many nights of uncertainty as a homeless teenager in high school. In need of help, Schmelzer applied and was accepted into a local nonprofit, Starting Right Now (SRN). SRN presented the importance of community and honesty to replace feelings of uncertainty with strength and determination. Through these lessons, Schmelzer felt a realization that it was her turn to better humanity, one person at a time, and offer her assistance to those in need. The desire to help others led to working with the founders of Tampa Bay Street Medicine (TBSM), an organization that provides health care to Tampa's poor and homeless.
Video: Skye Schmelzer honored by LightningDue strictly to funding, TBSM has only been able to service the community for ten hours monthly. Schmelzer's goal is to create a mobile outreach clinic in the Tampa Bay area with TBSM that will serve the city's underserved population while training the community's future physicians. The mobile clinic will be led by a team of USF medical students and provide dependable access to basic health care, such as prescription refills, HIV/STD testing, medical advice, and physical examinations. With TBSM only able to serve 16-20 patients per month in their standing clinics, Schmelzer believes an innovative mobile unit will be able to increase the monthly patient number to over 200 while enriching the medical education of local students.
Schmelzer becomes the 235th 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 $11.9 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.