Bucs give back with 'Better Bay' community campaign
Wednesday is a day off for Bucs players, but nine of them were busy volunteering at Sulphur Springs K-8 Community School, along with more than 150 Bucs staffers in the team's annual "Hometown Huddle" project as part of the "Bucs for a Better Bay" campaign to help local communities.
The school was one of the first in what are now 24 "Buccaneers Academy" programs, with large red canopies covering outdoor areas and encouraging outdoor activity from students. On Wednesday, the Bucs were busy with a variety of efforts -- engaging with students in classrooms and outside in "Play 60" interaction, painting buildings and picnic tables, as well as mulching and landscaping.
"We're committed to Sulphur Springs. It's very important to us," said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation. "With Bucs for a Better Bay, this really embodies everything that today is about, committing to Tampa, committing to children, going to community centers and helping families and parents."
Four players -- linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, tight end Cameron Brate and defensive tackle Akeem Spence -- painted pictures of a Bucs pirate ship with students in a classroom, while three others -- quarterback Ryan Griffin, offensive guard Caleb Benenoch and safety Ryan Smith -- ran waves of students through "Play 60" football drills in the covered outdoor area. Offensive linemen Donovan Smith and Kevin Pamphile joined staffers in painting picnic tables in the Bucs' colors and cheerleaders led groups of students in exercises as well.
Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn was also in attendance, as well as representatives from the United Way Suncoast, whose volunteers joined in the Bucs' community efforts.
Kassewitz said it's important for the Bucs to be hands-on -- the team's offices at One Buc Place were nearly vacant Wednesday, save for coaches preparing for Monday's game at Carolina -- and the personal aspect of the community outreach is a key part of the campaign.
"We're here for one day, but we do here is going to everlasting," she said. "Showing that we care and engaging with the people here. I very much feel that one positive word to a child can change their life. It's everything, really trying to change people's lives with inspiring and empowering messages."