Summer reading just got sweeter with Edwardsville Public Library, JewelRide and free prizes

Reading and fitness mean a lot to Tapiwa Mupereki, and he’s found a way to combine them to help Edwardsville-area kids this summer.

Mupereki is the co-founder and CEO of JewelRide, an Edwardsville-based company that provides non-emergency medical transportation.

Mupereki is also the driving force behind “Books for Bikes”, a new program at the Edwardsville Public Library. His company, JewelRide, is sponsoring 10 bikes as summer reading prizes, and he has enlisted four other sponsors for a total of 14 bikes to give away.

“We’re excited to let people know about two reading challenges at the library this summer,” said Megan Prueter, head librarian for youth services at the Edwardsville Public Library. “The Summer Reading Challenge starts May 26 and ends July 31 and is for ages 0-17. Read books this summer and win a free book, a prize package including passes and coupons from local businesses, and entry into our sweepstakes.

“In addition to the summer reading challenge, we are offering an exciting new reading challenge, JewelRide Books for Bikes. This is for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. For every book they read, they’ll get an entry into a raffle for a free bike, and 14 bikes will be given away thanks to our generous sponsors, JewelRide, The Cyclery and Fitness Center, BJ’s Printables, YCG Accounting and Dr. David Hyten. ”

For Mupereki, books and bicycles are a natural combination, thanks to his upbringing and medical training.

Mupereki grew up in a rural village in Zimbabwe, a small country in southern Africa. He credits his mother with instilling his love for reading and setting him on the path to a medical career.

“My mother was born into a polygamous family and my grandfather had three wives,” said Mupereki, a pharmacist by profession. “My grandmother was one of those three wives, and it was quite a big family. On top of that, in that society at the time, they didn’t believe in raising a girl.

“My mother never had any education at all, but she wanted to take care of me and my sister, and she started doing more jobs, like cleaning people’s houses. It was the lowest odd job because she had no training, but she was trying to take care of us as a single mother.

When Mupereki’s mother was cleaning the houses of wealthier and more educated people, she realized that all of these people had the opportunity to go to school.

“These people ate better and had cars and nice houses and she realized that if someone can learn to read and go to school, it can change the trajectory of their life,” Mupereki said. “She said to me, ‘If you can read books, you can be like the people in these houses, and I can work hard to get them for you.’

“The value of reading and listening to my teachers was imposed on me from an early age. It helped me stay focused in elementary school, high school, and pharmacy school.

JewelRide, located at 2110 Troy Road in Edwardsville, was co-founded by Mupereki and his wife, Dr. Faith Nkomo, who is a pediatrician. According to the company’s website at, they felt inspired to provide such an essential service after realizing how transportation constraints affected access to quality healthcare and wellness. .

In addition to proving non-emergency medical transportation, Jewel Ride offers dialysis transportation, pharmacy and pharmacy prescription pickup, assisted living transfers, and senior transportation, as well as errands and transportation needs. tailored.

For Mupereki, the Books for Bikes program at the library is a way to combine two of his favorite passions.

“They both align with this program,” Mupereki said. “Stimulating an interest in reading and literacy is something that has always interested me, and now, as an entrepreneur in the community, we are trying to provide access to health care. We promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

Finding additional sponsors in The Cyclery, BJ’s Printables, YCG Accounting and Dr. Hyten was an unplanned but welcome addition to the program.

“Initially we thought we were going to do it ourselves because it was our brainchild and that’s why it’s called JewelRide Books for Bikes,” Mupereki said. “But we realized there was an opportunity for our friends and other businesses in the community to get involved.

“I thought it was good for these companies to come together for a common cause within the community. I think they are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate.

The Summer Reading Challenge and Books for Bikes are both available online with the Beanstack app or you can visit the library to get paper reading logs.

For more information, call the library at 618-692-7556, go to, or visit the Edwardsville Public Library on Facebook.

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