PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis helped a number of students in Western Pennsylvania get computers for virtual schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bettis said he received a phone call from Jack Kearney at the Steelers who told him about a teacher in the Bethlehem-Center School District, which is located south of Pittsburgh, whose students didn’t have access to their own computers and they weren’t able to attend online classes.
“When he told me, I said well, we’ve got to do something about it,” said Bettis. “We created a crowd funding page and before you know it, we were able to raise $30,000 in a day to benefit these kids. So we were able to provide them with the laptops that they need.”
The fundraising effort was organized through Jerome’s charitable foundation. He said they’re starting to get calls from other places in need of help to get computers. “What people don’t understand is there is still a digital divide that’s out there between the haves and the have nots and growing up as a kid, I was a ‘have not’ and so I just know that it’s the right thing to do. It’s something we should really focus on and I think as the technology is becoming more affordable, people assume that it’s available. With internet access more widespread, people think that’s more accessible. And the answer is that it’s really not.
“We’ve got to try to bridge those gaps and bridge that digital divide so these kids are not being left behind.”
In a Facebook post, the Foundation wrote "Last day to enter our giveaway! We have 7 other school districts in Western PA that are in great need! Our goal is to provide technology for the students so they can complete their school work!"
More information about supporting the foundation's efforts is available at thebusstopsherefoundation.org.