Challenge Programs: Humanities Access Grants

Period of Performance

5/1/2017 - 6/30/2021

Funding Totals (matching)

$100,000.00 (approved)
$100,000.00 (offered)
$81,214.58 (awarded)

Reading Road Show – Gus Bus N.E.E.D. Initiative

FAIN: ZH-258379-18

James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA 22807-0001)
Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley (Project Director: May 2017 to January 2018)
Michael A. Maurice (Project Director: January 2018 to August 2018)
Jolynne Bartley (Project Director: August 2018 to March 2024)

The expansion of an existing literacy program to accommodate an additional 100 elementary school children in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The Gus Bus N.E.E.D initiative will target children and families living in Harrisonburg, VA by providing neighborhood-based literacy programming that eliminates transportation and socioeconomic barriers to accessing humanities education. The Gus Bus currently serves twelve neighborhood sites, visiting each unique site twice per week, with a roster of over 200 children. With the Access Grant, the Gus Bus will expand into six new neighborhood locations not currently served by the program, reaching 100 additional children. Through year-round (summer months included) literacy programming, elementary-aged children that otherwise do not have access to high-quality literature are acquainted with the humanities. On the Gus Bus, enrichment lessons transition group reading into hands-on content-based learning. In so doing, students have the opportunity to explore the wonders of art, culture, and history while simultaneously learning that reading has a purpose and structure.

Media Coverage

Gus Bus takes its reading adventures for kids online (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Bridget Manley
Publication: The Citizen
Date: 4/7/2020

Gus Bus launching new online reading program for the summer (Media Coverage)
Publication: WHSV
Date: 6/3/2020

Gus Bus competes as finalist for $75,000 Chick-fil-A award (Media Coverage)
Publication: The JMU Breeze
Date: 10/9/2018

2019 True Inspiration Award winner: The Reading Road Show-Gus Bus takes literacy on-the-go (Media Coverage)
Publication: Chick-fil-A Foundation Website
Date: 5/10/2019

Ducks Race To Fundraise — Proceeds From Event Benefit Gus Bus (Media Coverage)
Publication: Daily News Record
Date: 3/25/2019

The Good Food Truck Provides Produce To VA Families In Need (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Bridget Manley
Publication: WMRA
Date: 4/30/2019

Gus Bus Gets 'Inspiration' Award (Media Coverage)
Publication: Daily News Record
Date: 12/1/2018

Associated Products

Gus Bus Virtual Programming Lesson Plan Examples (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: Gus Bus Virtual Programming Lesson Plan Examples
Author: Various Gus Bus instructors
Abstract: The attached lessons provide examples of content taught virtually since March 2020, after programming moved online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Year: 2020
Primary URL:
Audience: K - 12

Gus Bus Sample Lesson Plans (Course or Curricular Material)
Title: Gus Bus Sample Lesson Plans
Author: Gus Bus Staff
Abstract: Example humanities lesson plans taught in Gus Bus programming.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Link to Google doc containing lesson plans
Audience: K - 12