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Former Tempe Elementary School Bus Driver Gives Back - Donates 500 Books to Holdeman Elementary Students

Post Date:05/21/2019 6:03 PM

Large group shot of students on a Valley metro bus all smiling at the cameraWith the last day of school just around the corner, employees from Valley Metro are making an effort to ensure that Holdeman Elementary students have access to books to read over the summer through their Driving for Books initiative. Led by Valley Metro Bus Operator Jermaine Bethea, this is the third year the donation drive has helped support a Tempe Elementary School District school..

“I think being able to bring physical books into students hands is a great thing,” said Bethea. “We want to promote summer reading as much as possible so that nothing is lost while they’re not in school.”

Before getting behind the wheel of a Valley Metro bus, Bethea drove a school bus for Tempe Elementary School District. As a way to give back to students, Bethea started collecting books with the intention of donating them to kids in need. This year, the Tempe resident has helped collect a record number of 8,000 donated books for youth in Tempe, Mesa, and Phoenix.

Boy holding book and smiling at camera

“I live in Tempe and my kids go to school in the Tempe Elementary School District. I get so much from this community so I am just trying to give a little bit back to it,” said Bethea.

One-by-one, 500 Holdeman students in kindergarten through fifth-grade lined up to climb aboard a colorful Valley Metro bus to receive their new book. Students gleefully accepted their new books and some even began reading right away while waiting for the rest of their classmates make their way through the line.

“When we read, I like to know that the author took courage to write for us,” said Third-Grade Student Jizae Henry. “Mostly, I like to unlock the adventures in the book.”

Girl holding book and smiling at cameraThroughout the year, employees of Valley Metro and bus service provider First Transit donated books to support education and local students through the Driving for Books initiative. Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Tempe Police Department, and Tempe Fire Department were among the additional community partners who helped to donate books this year.

“I think getting books is cool because when we read more books, we get more knowledge, and when we get more knowledge, we have more things to share,” said Fourth-Grade Student Valencia Dixon.

Thank you to Valley Metro and all community partners who helped make this donation event possible! Our students and families are so appreciative of your support.

Read more coverage of this event through Fox 10 news here: