No shortage of kindness

Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher
Posted on September 1, 2009

Over the decades that I’ve been involved with the school bus industry, I’ve constantly been impressed by the dedication of the people who work in it.

From bus drivers to transportation directors to company executives and many other positions, the vast majority of folks I’ve encountered are not just in this business to make a living. They have a passion to make a difference in the lives of the students they serve and the colleagues they work alongside or interact with at industry events.

Many even go above and beyond the normal duties of their jobs to find more ways to help others. A few notable examples of this recently came across my desk.

Supporting learning opportunities
In August, two new programs were announced by National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) members that will support learning opportunities for school bus professionals as well as students.

Peter Lawrence of Fairport (N.Y.) Central School District and his wife, Linda, endowed two scholarships that will cover the registration fee of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute’s conference for instructors in Syracuse, N.Y., this fall.

The Lawrences also endowed one scholarship that will cover the registration fee for NAPT’s Annual Summit in Louisville, Ky., this fall.

NAPT President-Elect Dr. Linda Bluth and her partner, Betsy Eisman, endowed an annual grant to help bring learning to life for needy students by paying for field trips. The pair committed $500 a year for the next 10 years to cover the costs of transportation, entry fees, supplies and classroom resource materials.

Soon after the programs were unveiled, Zonar Systems volunteered to double the endowments, which will allow the Lawrences to provide a total of six scholarships and Bluth and Eisman to award two field trips per year.

Applications and more details on these programs are at

Golfing for a good cause
In another example of industry members giving back, Student Transportation of America’s (STA) philanthropic arm is inviting golfers to test their skills alongside the pros at a charity event that will raise money for worthy students.

The STA Education Foundation Pro-Am, scheduled for Oct. 20 on the Ralston Creek Course at Daniel Island Club in Charleston, S.C., is being held in conjunction with the PGA Nationwide Tour Championship. Each participant will play with a Nationwide Tour pro.

Proceeds from the event will go toward scholarships to help students attend colleges and universities in areas that the school bus contracting company serves. In past years, the foundation has raised more than $100,000 for that cause.

The STA Education Foundation is offering packages that include playing spots in the Pro-Am, gifts, meals and other perks. Various levels of sponsorships and advertising space are also available to help support the cause.

For more details and to sign up, contact Karin Falkinburg at (732) 280-4200 x11 or


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