Thursday, June 30, 2011

US Scheme Links Freight Truck Drivers To Childrens Education

Innovative Haulage Program Has No Visible Down Side
Shipping News Feature

US – Mark Silva is a commercial freight driver for Wal-Mart who is known to hundreds of kids growing up thousands of miles from his normal route. For some years Mark has been part of a program running in the US which many other countries could benefit from if adopted. Mark is a ‘Trucker Buddy’ and is involved in a scheme which not only enhances the image of those involved in the haulage industry but really helps to educate American children from Kindergarten up to eighth grade.

At first sight tyre retreading might seem to have little to do with better education but this is just the type of tenuous link one finds when looking at the non profit 501(c)(3) organization started in 1992 which has helped the education of over a million children. David Stevens is the Managing Director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) and has been so inspired by the Trucker Buddy scheme he will compete in the Nation's Triathlon in Washington, DC on the 11th September to support the cause.

Trucker Buddy matches up a class of school kids with a particular driver who keeps them posted on his travels across the country. In return all the children write back on a monthly basis when, in an age of texting and mobile phones, many in the younger generation are in danger of losing the ability to write a grammatically correct letter, a skill that may prove essential in later life. The correspondence has been shown to enhance the students’ capabilities in geography, mathematics, social studies, and history as well as reading and writing.

TRIB, also a not for profit organization, has devoted a special page for anyone wishing to donate toward the scheme, and have even offered a prize of a Sterling Acterra Model Truck (1/53rd scale) to those contributing $100 or more (tax deductible for US tax payers). As David Stevens says:

"It's a fun way to leverage the power of our members to support Trucker Buddy's great organization and deliver a higher level of donations than we could on our own. Plus, it's great motivation in training for the 32-mile swim/bike/run knowing that the effort will go into supporting Trucker Buddy and the more than 2,300 truckers and 60,000 students that participate in the program."

To gain an idea as how Truck Buddy is of benefit to thousands of children a picture is probably worth more than words so to see the effect Mark Silva and drivers like him have had in American schools we have linked a News video HERE.