(Tampa Bay Lightning/Scott Audette)

By Bill Vandermark, Staff Writer | Follow him on Twitter

The Lightning Experiment with Slippery Science

Dave Andreychuk helped some preschoolers from a local head start program cut the ribbon on a new exhibit at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) called Slippery Science. Funded by a grant from the PNC Foundation, the new exhibit will use science to interest and engage children with scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills.

The exhibit opened December 2 and includes learning about elements from the game of hockey including friction, physics, and the time to react.

Little Boy Helps to Give Back

Even during the holidays when everyone is generally in the giving mood, small children are not typically known for being generous with their toys. But, according to his mom, Gavin Cox is not only generous; he’s generous to a fault. Gavin has gone through his house and gathered up gifts and toys he’s received and donated them to charity on behalf of the Lightning Foundation since the Tampa Bay Lightning just happen to be Gavin’s favorite hockey team ever.

His mom, Tiffany, decided to expand the generosity by asking each member of Gavin’s hockey team to bring a toy to add to the donation. The response was better than expected and they were able to donate between 20 and 25 gifts to the Lightning Foundation for their Toys for Tots campaign.

New Community Heroes Announced

The Tampa Bay Lightning have honored more community heroes.

Jane Ford was honored as the 10th recipient of the Lightning Community Hero presentations. Jane has been working with to make sure that transitioning 18 year olds leaving foster care are able to have a place to call their own. Since these young people would have no household items of their own, she works to make sure that they have furniture and household goods. Jane will donate her money to Camelot Community Care.

In 1997 Charley Richards founded Community Affordable Supported Living. This non-profit organization provides affordable housing for adults with disabilities. Having raised a son who was developmentally disabled, Charley knew from experience how difficult it is for these adults to secure and keep housing. He was honored as the 11th Community Hero.

Jose and Ampy Suarez will donate their community hero money to HOPE Youth Ranch. They’ve been helping at-risk children by opening their home to foster care. After realizing they could expand their foster capabilities and provide even more help, they started a sanctuary that helps to defend, protect, and promote the well-being of foster children. They’ve been running the Ranch since 2004. They are the 12th Community Hero presentation.

Shortly before Christmas, the Lightning honored the 13th and 14th recipients of the Community Hero awards. Connor Bruseski is another atypical child. Diagnosed with Lymphoma at age six, he designed a wristband for the Friends of Connor program and began selling them to raises money for pediatric oncology diseases. Connor used those proceeds to make a donation to the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital. His community hero award will be donated to All Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Dream Fund.

The 14th Hero is Crisha Scolaro. Just before the new millennium, Crisha started Pepin Academies, a school for children with learning disabilities. Over time it has grown to a public charter school designed to help educate children from K-12 with specific learning disabilities. Over the course of the school’s history, no student has ever dropped out of the program. Scolaro simply wants to create an environment that uses innovative methods for education and halts the cycle of helplessness that is sometimes created for a learning disabled student.

The last cut off date for nominations is coming up quickly. Get your nominations in by January 15th if you know someone who is making the Tampa Bay area better by being a Community Hero.

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