TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Tatiyana Rich as the third Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Anaheim Ducks. Rich, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate half the money to Life Center, while the other half will go to a scholarship for her own education.
When Tatiyana was six years old, her father was a victim of gunshot violence and passed away. After her mother remarried, Rich was left feeling resentful and she was kicked out of her house when she was 17 years old. With nowhere else to turn, she joined a program for homeless youth called Starting Right, Now (SRN). This offered her support, stability and guidance when she needed it most.
Rich is now a freshman at the University of Central Florida and has volunteered more than 150 hours through SRN. She has donated her time to Metropolitan Ministries, advocating for homeless youth and as a tutor at Corr Elementary School. Through SRN, Tatiyana also had the opportunity to attend counseling sessions at Life Center, which has made a positive and lasting impact on her. Rich soon realized that she is not the only one who needs these services and that counseling is vital in the process of helping people move on from tragedy. Because of this, she is donating her Community Hero award to the Life Center to pay for grief counseling for those who cannot afford it, including creative art therapy and creative expressive writing therapy.
Tatiyana Rich becomes the 278th 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 $14 million to more than 300 different non-profits 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.