Thousands of students get free books from Valley Metro

TEMPE, Ariz. (FOX 10) - School is almost out for the summer, but before the last bell, students hop on board this decked out Valley Metro bus.

"Now that they have the opportunity and they see it in vibrant colors that they look at the art and get more inspiration from it," said Celyn Evens, a senior at Marcos de Niza High School.

Who believes in the power of a book.

"Reading is something really important that comes in every kids' life," Evens said.

Year-round, thousands of books donated to Valley Metro by community libraries and first responders are given back to students across the Valley.

It's an effort inspired by a First Transit driver who's passionate about the importance of reading.

"Nowadays, kids mostly look at screens all day so that reading gets kind of lost at imagination," Jermaine Bethea said. "These kids are obviously going to be our future, so we want to arm them with the tools they need to be successful... so that's where this came from."

In a single-file line, nearly 7,000 kids across the Valley will load onto bus 6751 and pick up a free book to take home and read for the summer.

"I feel good that I'm getting a book because I love to read," said Mia Valenzuela, a student at Holdeman Elementary School.

"Mostly, I like to unlock the adventures in the book and chase all the bees on the pages," said Jizae Henry, another student at Holdeman Elementary.