Community Hero: Cheryl Hickman of the Women’s Resource Center

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What is a Community Hero? About the Lightning Community Hero Award.

In 2011, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Vinik, and his wife, Penny, launched a new initiative called the Lightning Community Hero program. The motive of this collaboration between the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation is to distribute $10 million dollars to deserving Heroes and non-profits in the Tampa Bay community over a five year period.

Lightning Community Hero logo.

For the past four seasons, the Lightning Community Hero program has honored a local Hero at every single regular season and playoff home game. Each Hero receives a donation of $50,000 from the Lightning Community Hero program for a non-profit charity of his or her choice. With 41 home games each season and the fact the Lightning made it to the playoffs for the last three years; the program has shared the stories of 220 deserving Heroes and has distributed funding to over 400 local charities, totaling $11,100,000 since the program’s inception. How awesome is that?

What’s even better is, in April of 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Vinik announced another five-year, $10 million pledge through the Vinik Family Foundation to assure the continuation of the Lightning Community Hero program for the next five seasons. They are very excited to continue this heartfelt tradition, which has become a beloved signature moment at their home games.

Who is Cheryl Hickman and what is the Women’s Resource Center?

Cheryl Hickman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center of Tampa. The Women’s Resource Center provides individualized services to families, single parents, individuals, elderly, disabled, veterans and the homeless.

Cheryl Hickman being handed a check by Jeff Vinik and Ryan Callahan of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Women’s Resource Center of Tampa is a faith based, not for profit organization dedicated to providing services that encourage, support and assist individuals and families to meet their basic needs. Founded by a group of women who themselves had overcome personal struggles, the Women’s Resource Center is a place where individuals and families in crisis find respect, hope and the support they need to change their lives.

The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Cheryl Hickman as the 22nd Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 13th. Hickman, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Women’s Resource Center.

In 2003, Hickman showed resiliency in the face of adversity after losing her job and her husband. She was on the verge of homelessness after nearly losing electricity in her home where she lived with her two small children. Not knowing where to turn, Hickman sought out help from a local church. After receiving assistance from the church, Hickman made it her personal mission to assure that other families in her situation would get the help that they needed. Hickman’s goal was to provide struggling families with a safe community where they could find solutions to the adversity they were facing.

Later in 2003, to help these families in need, Hickman started the Women’s Resource Center of Tampa Bay. Families have received assistance with past due bills, child care, and back to school supplies. Aside from the temporary help, Cheryl Hickman’s organization also provides counseling, training, resume writing assistance, and career planning. In April of 2016, Hickman opened The Little White House, the first emergency shelter that has already provided a safe haven for five single mothers and their children. Throughout the past 13 years, Women’s Resource Center of Tampa Bay has helped over 40,000 women, children and families in need.

Click the Image Below to Watch the Community Hero Video on

Community Hero Cheryl Hickman. Link opens community hero video in a new window.

How to Get Involved with the Women’s Resource Center

The Co-Founders and Owners here at Braille Works, Lou and Joyce Fioritto, are devoted supporters and board-members at the Women’s Resource Center. If you’d like to get involved with the Women’s Resource Center and their admirable mission; here’s how you can help. Besides monetary donations, they’re always a need for other things such as:

  • Small household items
  • Food and Toiletries
  • Gently used clothing for women and children.
  • Volunteering (Teach a legal, budgeting, time management, parenting, or employment skills class, support clients, help office support, provide auto repair, and many other areas.)

Our very own VP of Sales & Marketing, Glen Schubert, received the award back in 2014. Glen and his wife Kelly run Instruments of Change, which is a non-profit whose primary mission is “To profoundly impact the lives of disadvantaged children through the gifts of musical instrument donation, instruction and performance.”

Glen and Kelly Schubert holding a customized Tampa Bay Lightning jersey.

Follow the Women’s Resource Center and the Tampa Bay Lightning

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This post was written by Jeff Frcho

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