Reflecting on All That We Value

Deb HubsmithThe end of the year is a time of reflection on all that we value. Here at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, we value the simple act of walking or bicycling safely to school, a shop or to work.

That value energizes the work of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership every day. We see that our more than 600 partners and countless people throughout the United States share this value too. We see it when you advocate in your community, and when tens of thousands of you tell Congress that walking and bicycling is important. We see those same values when parent volunteers are leading by example as you start and maintain walking school buses. 

This year, our collective voices were stronger than ever about the value of walking and bicycling, for kids and everyone. We are so proud of all we have accomplished together in 2012: increasing award and obligation rates for Safe Routes to School funds in many states throughout the country, growing demand for walking and bicycling especially among younger generations and good evidence that Safe Routes to School programs work in communities to increase physical activity. We know that schools can be the heart of a neighborhood or community.

In 2013 we will promote schools as the heart of health and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership will be at the heart of spreading the value and joy of walking and bicycling to school and in daily life. Here’s a sampling of what’s to come.

  1. This Wednesday, December 5, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership will co-host a national walking event with Kaiser Permanente, America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College of Sports Medicine. We’re working to grow the walking movement, as everybody walks – including kids.
  2. In November, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) announced an ambitious collaboration to reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. Together, the two organizations will develop an advocacy initiative designed to change local, state and federal policies to help children and adolescents eat healthier foods and be more active. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership applauds this collaboration and looks forward to participating on efforts related to improving the built environment.
  3. In the summer of 2013, the Local Government Commission will host the fourth Safe Routes to School National Conference in Sacramento, California. The event is co-presented by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the National Center for Safe Routes to School and is designed for everyone who wants to support and help lead Safe Routes to School efforts.
  4. In the new year, together with the National PTA and Kaiser Permanente, we will bring healthy school fundraising, and the grassroots engagement program Fire Up Your Feet, to schools across the country.

Be sure to join with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership as a partner and/or a supporter so that we can join together on advancing our goals further in 2013. May you end the year in peace and health; my best wishes for the New Year!