Trucker Buddy International lives up to its name

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | 2/27/2014

Trucker Buddy International pen pal program is living up to the “international” part of its name – at least in the case of OOIDA Members Bob and Linda Caffee of Silex, Mo.

The Caffees, who just won an Outstanding Trucker Buddy award, have been sending letters and post cards to elementary students who go to school in St. Malo, France.

How did that happen? Linda says it was through the Trucker Buddy website. The French teacher asked to be hooked up with a U.S. trucker and Trucker Buddy made the arrangement for Bob and Linda Caffee to be Trucker Buddies for her class.

“The teacher moved on to do something different,” she said. “I was asked if I wanted to do another class and I said I would, gladly.”

The students are all 10-12 years and live in a beautiful resort area in France, but Caffee says they love to get postcards from the United States.

Linda sends this class postcards every other week as well as emails. The teacher told Caffee that the kids do reports on postcards she sends and it’s a requirement that they be done in English.

“So it’s a great exercise in learning English,” says Linda. 

At Christmas, Bob and Linda got letters from the kids and photos of each one.

“It was really fun, and Bob and I wrote back to each one.”

In one of her blogs, Linda wrote that “Our class in France has sent us one-minute sound bites with the kids speaking to us through an avatar they have created. We were thrilled to receive these and listen to each one of them speak to us in English with their delightful French accents.”  

The kids also follow Bob and Linda’s blog and enjoy the pictures.

Linda says one day she’d like to jump on a jet and go to France to visit.

“The teacher is amazing, and I’d like to visit her one day,” she said.

Caffee is an owner-operator who runs team with her husband, Bob, for FedEx Custom Critical. Not only is the project a good English skills lesson, but it also teaches geography and math. She says she sends her French students a record of her mileage on trips – which they convert to kilometers.

Trucker Buddy International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization started in 1992 and dedicated to helping educate and mentor schoolchildren via a pen pal relationship between professional truck drivers and children in grades K-8. Trucker Buddy matches classes of students with professional truck drivers. Every week drivers share news about their travels with their class.

Once a month, students write letters to their drivers. Students’ skills in reading, writing, geography, mathematics, social studies and history are enhanced, and learning is fun.

Land Line staff contributed to this story.

Copyright © OOIDA