Bus drivers raising money to provide internet for kids

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Scrap for internet

A group of bus drivers employed by Danville Independent Schools is trying to make a difference in the lives of the children they serve by collecting scrap metal to cover the cost of internet.

“Some of our kids are getting left behind,” said Keith Weldon, who came up with the idea. “It dawned on me how much scrap metal goes to waste — I don’t have much money, but I do have other resources. So do all of us.”

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Weldon said it sometimes takes being creative to find ways to help.

He said students have Chromebooks through the school that they can take home. However, many of those students don’t have internet, so they can’t do the research they’d need.

“Someone asked me why they don’t just use their phones,” he said. “Have you ever tried to write a paper on the phone?”

So he and other bus drivers will collect scrap metal and sell it, putting the money in a fund for students. They are also collecting monetary donations.

Driver Liz Van Hook said, “It could be a great way to clean up your property.”

Eventually, Weldon said, he hopes it can expand beyond providing for the internet. But for now, that’s their focus.

So far, he said, they’ve raised $600 without really trying. Weldon said he hopes people will also see that “bus drivers are human, too.” 

“We’ve got some of the best drivers you’d ever ask for,” he said.

Van Hook said she thinks bus drivers see things before anyone else in the district.

“(Bus drivers) see what the kids come out of and what they go home to,” she said.

Weldon said the kids are also willing to share what’s going on in their lives with him and his fellow drivers. And, in so many cases, kids are raising themselves.

“Why not do something?”

He’s contacted various internet providers and learned that those families receiving SNAP benefits can also qualify for a reduction on their internet costs from AT&T, which will waive the installation fee.

Van Hook said internet is a necessity, especially for the kids, but it’s so costly for families.

“Fifty or $60 a month can make a big difference,” she said.

Weldon agreed.

“If a family has to choose between internet, food and clothing, food is going to win, clothing will be next and internet is last,” he said. “And some of these people have a job and they’re still struggling.”

Weldon said he and other drivers are going to form a committee, to be named later, to help maintain and distribute the money.

“I’m really excited about what we’re going to see,” he said. “We’ll provide it as long as the money is there.”


To donate money or scrap metal, call Keith Weldon at (859) 209-1100.