11 Cares teams up with Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation for technology drive

11 Cares teams up with Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation for technology drive

PITTSBURGH — 11 Cares and its partners – Dollar Bank, Duquesne Light, Gateway Health and Vitalant – teamed up with the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation for a technology drive.

The Foundation held a one-day ‘Pack the Bus’ event at Stage AE on Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. People dropped off used laptops or tablets, or made a monetary donation. Only drive-up donations were accepted.

“The need is great. When our initial survey that we did in Southwestern Pa., there was a little over 36,000 students in need so it’s great. But there’s many other nonprofits and corporates helping us, so I think collectively, the city of Pittsburgh is amazing,” said Bethany Vietmeir, with the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation.

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The event was part of Connecting Kids, a summer-long technology drive to bridge the divide with connectivity for Pittsburgh area students. It was a group initiative between The Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation, The Education Partnership and Computer Reach.

“We want to inspire all kids and give them an equal opportunity to learn and thrive. We live in a digital world, and access to the internet is vital for all students,” said Jerome Bettis, Founder of the Bus Stops Here Foundation.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, more than 36,000 students have been disconnected from their schooling due to lack of internet access and WiFi-equipped devices to connect, according to the foundation.

Companies and individuals were encouraged to donate used laptops or make a financial contribution to help support the mission of connecting students before they return to school this fall.

For monetary donations, please text BUS to 71777 or visit thebusstopsherefoundation.org and click donate now.

“The pandemic’s effect of forcing students, teachers and schools to pivot education to a remote environment has illuminated the vast discrepancies in technology between under-resourced vs. affluent schools,” said Josh Whiteside, Executive Director of The Education Partnership.

“Thousands of families are trying to connect to the internet and use computers in a very rushed and demanding time. Computer Reach is pleased to partner with the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation and The Education Partnership to meet this demand for computers all summer and beyond,” said Dave Sevick, Executive Director of Computer Reach.

For more information about the Connecting Kids technology drive, CLICK HERE.

Jerome Bettis talks about the Bus Stops Here Foundation technology drive