At a recent PMTC Board of Directors meeting in Milton, Ontario, Ed Novoa, a Trucker Buddy Board member since 2011, made a presentation (and raised awareness) of the Trucker Buddy Program.
The topic was first raised at a PMTC Young Leaders Group brainstorming session in March. When the idea was brought to PMTC President Mike Millian, he was very interested in finding out how the PMTC could get involved. Millian remembered hearing about the program back in his early years in the industry as a driver, and recalled the program being much more prominent in his travels south of the border.
The Trucker Buddy Program began in 1992 with an OTR driver who wanted to stay in touch with his kids and be involved in their education. The program has over 1,900 driver participants adopting classrooms worldwide. It is a great way to educate school-aged children about the industry, raise the industry’s image, and help teach children about geography and what is all involved in the life of a driver. Drivers and teachers are volunteers and receive no compensation. Drivers who are interested must undergo a thorough criminal and background check done for safety and security reasons. Once approved, they will either be paired up with a class for a year, or they may request a class of their own.
Drivers then communicate with the teacher weekly, and these communications are part of the children’s class activities. If the fleet and school approve, drivers
can visit their adopted class with their trucks as well to show the students where they work. Go to this link to see an actual Trucker Buddy: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Mn3SR1KR30o.
Sadly, the Trucker Buddy Program only has 18 Canadian drivers, and 12 classrooms participating. In an effort to try and change this, the PMTC Board voted to
PMTC THROWS ITS SUPPORT BEHIND TRUCKER BUDDY INTERNATIONAL donate $1,000 to the program, as well as provide advertising through its various
communication channels, and reach out to its members. Several Board members who have fleets have also committed to investigating further to see if they can
make the program part of their fleet and get some of its drivers involved.
Ed commented, “I feel that the challenge in Canada has been that fleets perceive it is a great program, but don’t have time to be involved. My hope is that by having the PMTC support the program, it will help dispel the myth. The carriers are typically ‘hands-off’ once the driver is registered and active. The rest is managed by Trucker Buddy administration. Over the Road Mmgazine, which I work for, has always been involved with this program. Once my tenure is done, we expect another member of the OTR team will join the Board.”
Mike Millian added, “The Trucker Buddy Program is an amazing program, whose main goals are to communicate with students, educate them about our
industry and improve our image. With our struggles to get the next generation into our industry, and our image issue with the general population, this is a program the entire industry and every company should be involved in. Throwing our support behind this organisation is a no brainer. We challenge all PMTC members to reach back to find out how you can get your fleet and drivers involved.”
Trucker Buddy Executive Director Alan Welborn said, “It is truly our pleasure to have the support of PMTC, their Board and their members. With the support of the entire PMTC team we feel our partnership will help our Trucker Buddy message within the drivers, teachers, students, fleets and supplier community. We are really looking forward to growing our partnership and are very appreciative of this partnership.” To find out more, go to www.truckerbuddy.org.
Instructions for drivers wishing to become Trucker Buddies:
1. Visit www.truckerbuddy.org
2. Click “Sign Up” at the top of the page
3. Under “Driver Sign Up” click “Sign Up”
4. Fill out the web form completely
5. At the bottom of the page, click to view Trucker Buddy Rules and Policies
6. Check the box stating you have read and agree to the rules and policies of Trucker Buddy
7. Click “I Agree” at the bottom of the page to submit your application
8. After you’ve replied, you’ll receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org within a few days that will contain a list of available classrooms. Reply to the email with
the class with which you’d like to be paired.
9. Once you’ve selected a class, Trucker Buddy will perform a standard background screen as described in the application form.
10. Once your background check has come back clear, you’ll receive an email with the teacher of your class’s contact information, and he or she will receive
an email with your contact information.
11. Once you’ve received contact information, you can begin communication with your teacher, and you are officially a member of Trucker Buddy International.
Drivers and teachers typically correspond once per month while school is in session. Typically, drivers will send information about where and
when they’ve traveled and what life is like as an over-the-road driver. Teachers will use this correspondence to have students write letters to you and will
use your stops as opportunities to teach history, math, and reading. For more correspondence ideas, visit the Trucker Buddy Facebook page at
www.facebook.com/truckerbuddyinternational where you can get ides from other drivers in the program.
12. If you have questions at any point during this process, simply send a message to email@example.com.