The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Thaddeus Smith as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Smith, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to his charity of choice, the Tampa Bay Dream Center.
Smith has gained a reputation among his peers as a model father, which stems from a direct result of his emphasis on the significance of adoption and foster care. He himself has opened up his home to six such children who he has adopted, believing that no individual should be subject to the absence of a parental figure in their lives. In total, Smith has hosted over 90 foster kids throughout his 25 years of service to the community.
The children that Smith has taken in over the past two decades inspired him to found the Tampa Bay Dream Center in historic Ybor City to help keep our community’s youth off of the streets and to give them with a safe environment in which they can flourish. The Dream Center’s main priority is to provide clothing, shelter, food, mentorship and other types of assistance to all men, women and children. Smith played an integral role in making the Dream Center possible, as he nearly single-handedly obtained the necessary grants and donations to fund a $350,000 renovation project for the center. Through his work, thousands of at-risk children and their families throughout the Bay Area are now able to be mentored, cared for and supported.