Jerome Bettis and his Bus Stops Here Foundation continue to make a difference in the lives of local Pittsburgh youth. As we all saw last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on a serious issue for kids in underserved areas and communities; that being the lack of computers and/or internet access. Now, many non-profits and foundations are working hard to bridge this gap, including Bettis’s Bus Stops Here Foundation. On Tuesday, May 4th, the foundation donated brand new Chromebooks to 50 students at Sto-Rox High School in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.
As quoted on KDKA, “This is what’s been referred to as the digital divide. It’s something that’s been here for a long time. But we really never addressed the urgency until COVID,” said Josh Whiteside with the Education Partnership.
Whiteside heads an organization that assists low-income school districts in southwest Pennsylvania. He says the digital divide in those districts is hard to believe.
“In COVID, we knew that as many as 50 percent of students throughout our partner schools, that’s 55,000 students, those students did not have adequate devices or internet access at home,” he said.
So 50 more students got laptops today and shook the hand of a football legend. But Jerome Bettis admits, this just puts a small dent in the problem.
“No one person can do it alone. No one foundation can do it alone. It’s important that we all pool our resources together and create the benefit that I think — it’s the right thing to do,” said Bettis.
Getting a laptop is just one part of the problem. These students also need access to high-speed internet. It’s an issue that’s being dealt with by local communities and internet providers.
The goal of the Bus Stops Here Foundation is to assist youth in learning to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy choices.
Who We Are
The Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation was created in 1997 by Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back Jerome Bettis to provide opportunities for inner-city youth to succeed and become productive individuals in today’s society. Jerome Bettis wants to lead by example and give back to societies and communities, which enabled him to achieve the level of success he has acquired. He strongly believes that in addition to his parents and extended family, a multitude of individuals and programs assisted in shaping his life. Now, it is his turn to impact the lives of our youth.
The Jerome Bettis “Bus Stops Here” Foundation is dedicated to improving the overall quality of life for troubled and underprivileged inner-city youth. We accomplish this by providing financial resources, educational and recreational programs and mentoring that will assist youth in learning to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy choices.
Our vision is to provide a safe and supportive environment for youth where they can grow and develop as thoughtful and caring citizens that possess the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century.
Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, this virtual youth program is designed to connect middle school students to exciting and engaging activities centered around Tech & Innovation, Art, Video and film, Math, Spanish, Entrepreneurship, Athletics and more. Youth will “check-inn” (virtually) to experience fun educational and enrichment activities that will keep them engaged while not being in a classroom setting.
In today’s technology-driven world, it is critical that all children have access and exposure to computer science (CS) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. Through innovative and engaging activities centered around technology creation, youth as young as 8-years-old can learn to develop web pages, video games, animation and more.
An early introduction to computer science can spark a child’s interest in engineering while also helping them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. While classroom learning greatly contributes to student’s academic success, it is also important that they are given opportunities to go beyond the classroom to create, build and explore infusing STEM.
Coding is computer language used to create computer software, apps and websites. Students will learn the general bases of coding in an effort to help them create projects such as: web pages, game designs and more
Summer Technology and Innovation Camp
The week-long tech camp, for youth ages 8-16, includes 2-3 workshops focusing on robotics, web design, game app development, animation and/or rocketry. The camp also includes: speakers/mentors, student presentations, certificates and more. On the last day of the event, “demo day”, campers showcase what they created.
This two-day event is designed to pair technology mentors with students in an effort to collaborate around computer programming to problem solve community, social and global issues.
Tech and Innovation Coaches
Innovation Huddle will also feature tech MVP’s (most valuable programmers) who will talk to students about various STEM career fields.
Take It To The Lanes
The unique program teaches students ages 8-16 basic fundamental skills of bowling. Students will learn how to choose the proper bowling ball, learn bowling scoring, rules, deliveries, aiming, etiquette, averages/handicaps, and terminology. The objective of this program is for the students to develop an interest in bowling as a valuable lifetime leisure and coeducational activity that they can continually enjoy along with their families.
Holiday Toy Drive
During the holidays, everyone deserves a gift. The Bus Stops Here Foundation is dedicated to partnering with a corporation to hold an annual toy drive to collect gifts for underprivileged youth. In addition, a holiday party is held for the children with great food, holiday story time and gift opening.
Connecting Kids We’ve recognized the digital divide is causing an educational crisis for students, so we’re striving to connect as many less fortunate kids as possible with devices and educational resources. A staggering number of students nationally are at risk of falling behind in school or dropping out, therefore, we are equipping them with the tools they need to continue learning and thriving in the virtual-era.
Want to help Jerome further his many great programs and initiatives? Donate or volunteer today!
About Jerome Bettis
Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl Champion, Jerome Bettis is one of the best all-time running backs in the NFL. “The Bus” finished his NFL career in January 2006 after 13 seasons, retiring immediately following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit. Bettis ranks Sixth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 13,662 yards and is one of six players in NFL history to rush for 13,000 yards. He is one of only eight players in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards for eight or more seasons.
He ranks third in NFL history with 3,369 rushing attempts. Bettis was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, including his rookie season. Bettis finished his college career at Notre Dame averaging 5.7 yards per carry and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams 10th overall in 1993. He was named NFL Co-Rookie of the Year and also earned Sporting News Rookie of the Year and Rams MVP honors. Bettis followed the team in their move to St. Louis in 1995 before being traded to the Steelers prior to the 1996 season, where he spent the remaining 10 seasons of his illustrious career.
Currently, Jerome serves as a Studio Analyst for ESPN on all their main shows Sports Center and NFL Live. He is also one of the most sought after corporate spokesmen for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in this country.
Cheers & GO IRISH!