Bridgestone donates new van to Kansas City’s Boys & Girls Club

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Bridgestone Americas surprised the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City with a brand-new van Wednesday afternoon.

The company dropped off the seven-passenger van at the club’s Wyandotte County chapter in KCK after members submitted a video detailing the need for more transportation.

“That’s going to go a long way in helping us transport even more students to and from the clubs,” said Dred Scott, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City.

The club is one of 11 organizations across the country to receive a $35,000 transportation grant from Bridgestone’s "Driving Great Futures" campaign.

“Reliable transportation really prevents a majority of the kids from getting to the clubs,” Scott said.

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City serves around 5,000 students in the metro with only seven (15-seat) passenger vans, and some are more than a decade old.

“We’re running several routes in order to try to meet the needs as much as we can,” Scott said. “We also contract with local bus company but that gets expensive.”

The club’s KCK location alone serves 180 students daily, and 45 percent of them need a ride to and from the club.

“This will help them get here faster, so they’re not having to wait for the next bus to come out or van. So it’s a huge opportunity for them, and we’re glad to do it,” said David Messer, the region manager for Bridgestone Americas.

Fifteen-year-old Kacy Odom, who’s been a member of the club for 4 years, was excited for the new addition. She relies on the club’s transportation because her parents are still at work when she gets out of school.

“I choose to come down here because it’s a really nice outlet, and I can get help with my homework and meet new people,” Odom said.

The 10th-grader is hoping the new van will allow for more field trips and off-site events moving forward.

“We’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities and a lot of good things just because we haven’t had the right transportation for it, so I’m really glad we were given this van,” Odom said.

Bridgestone conducted a survey earlier this fall that showed nearly 70 percent of parents agreed that having reliable transportation was the biggest challenge for their kids participating in after-school activities.