• Neon bus program packs the park for party

    By Jacob Smith -

    Hundreds of families made their way to Don Fox Park on Wednesday for the Lebanon Special School District’s Neon Bus Party.

    Beth Petty, Lebanon Special School District family resource center coordinator, said hundreds of families enjoyed the festivities, which included free food, books, music and even appearances from local emergency service agencies.

    This year’s celebration also featured a special presentation from the Amazon Fulfillment Center. The organization donated $3,500 in science, technology, engineering and math books for the Neon buses’ mobile classrooms, as well as an additional $1,500 to be used throughout the district.

    “With literacy being such a strong focus in our district, we’re making great strides here at the Lebanon Special School District when it comes to literacy,” said Lebanon Director of Schools Scott Benson. “It’s cool to be smart, it’s cool to be a good reader, and this is helping to accomplish that goal, as well as equipping our buses with books for children.”

    Amazon Fulfillment representative Mark Marzano said he felt like the donation of books was an investment into the future leaders of our community.

    “Obviously, this is near and dear to our heart, because we’re a technology business, so it was a good fit,” said Marzano. “That’s a cool bus, combining the food program that they have with having books available for kids. That’s really cool.”

    One of the features of the party in the park was the Lebanon Special School District’s Kindness Cadets, a group of students who spread positivity through the schools as well as the community.

    “We try to make a difference in the community,” said Kindness Cadet Autumn Sweatt. “So, at school, we pass out kindness cards and stuff, and if someone is having a low day, we cheer them up. We just try to keep people happy and make a difference in the community.”

    At the park, the group of cadets helped give away books, and kept positive attitudes to try to make sure all the attendees had a good time.

    “We try to make the place a better environment,” said Kindness Cadet Tatum Bayliss. “We try to make the schools a better environment and just pave a good way for the future.”

    Petty said the group is thankful for the “hometown heroes” who sent members to help cook, vehicles that attendees could tour and a Lebanon fire truck to cool visitors off during the event.

    “I really want to thank Team Neon ,” said Petty, who said the crew does the daily work associated with the Neon bus and summer program and they always have smiles on their faces.

    Team Neon served students at the party in the park, and volunteers served adults. Everyone that came to the party was invited to eat lunch.

    During the rest of the summer, the Neon bus and Neon Remix will visit various locations in Wilson County to serve free meals to anyone 18 years old and younger.

    The program will be at Coles Ferry Elementary School’s cafeteria until June 29 from 7:45-8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. until noon.

    Through July 20, the program will also be at the Tater Peeler Road site from 11:45 a.m. until noon; Inman Court from 10:45-11:10 a.m.; Weatherly Estates from 11:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.; Peyton Road Apartments from 10:45-11 a.m.; Kent Drive and Hobbs Avenue from 12:15-12:35 p.m.; Upton Heights from 11:20 a.m. until noon; Springhill Townhomes from 11:15-11:30 a.m.; Greentree Apartments from 12:50-1:10 p.m.; and Don Fox Community Park from 12:15-1:30 p.m.

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