TAMPA (FOX 13) - Busting through its doors Monday, 80 local kids found themselves inside a new and improved Grant Park: Their home away from home.
A partnership between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jabil allowed for a refurbished student center, which includes a weight room, game room and computer room for the kids to enjoy. That's where Bucs players greeted them after spending hours working with community members to fix it up.
"The team did a great job in painting and the designs in the room, and everything, to the new couches, TVs and game systems, books, pool tables and stuff like that," said offensive tackle Donovan Smith.
"I think it's amazing," said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation. "Before the players went out to talk to the kids, I noticed that they were using all the rooms themselves. I think that really speaks to the excitement of what's going on inside the community center."
After exploring the student center, there was more outside to see. It's where the kids could get up close and personal with Bucs players. They ran drills and taught them some football fundamentals.
"The community gives so much to us," said punter Bryan Anger. "This is our time where we get to give back to the community. We're in the offseason right now, not as busy, so we want to do as much as we can to come out here and give back and show our appreciation for them supporting us."
There was no shortage of smiles at Grant Park. They were a sure sign that the community support for these kids, was felt.
"To be out here in the flesh and see all the kids and do something as great as we did today in renovating everything out here, and just to get us out here to even to play with them," added Smith, "I'm pretty sure it means a lot to them as much as it means to us."
The Buccaneers also surprised each kid with a brand new pair of cleats at the end of the day.