The numbers are in, and this year's Walk to School Day was one of the most successful yet. We're excited to share some of the highlights that parents and Walk to School Day organizers shared with us from around the country.
Frazee and Barnesville, MN
Photo: Casey Ehlert
Both towns have recently made infrastructure improvements thanks to Safe Routes to School grants and the planning efforts of West Central Initiative. In Frazee, it was a new multi-use trail that connected the school with a neighborhood on the edge of town. And in Barnesville, it was a new sidewalk in the heart of town just south of the football field.
In Barnesville, all students K-12 walked on a new section of sidewalk recently built after observations led by WCI found that students walking on 5th Ave SE next to the football stadium were walking in the street and on the grass. Since this was identified by WCI in their Safe Routes to School plan, Barnesville was able to apply for a Safe Routes Infrastructure Grant to upgrade sidewalks around the schools, and to build a new sidewalk next to the football stadium, complete with lighting. (Thanks to Andrew Besold for the report.)
Organizers worked with local businesses to secure donations to offer as incentives, such as string bags, heart flashers, reflective tags, water bottles, and fruit. The morning of Walk to School Day was grey and gloomy (in a town that normally sees 300 days of sunshine a year, so impending rain was concerning!) but the weather did not prevent kids and families from walking. About 250 people walked to school that day, including the principal, police officers, high school cheerleaders, the deputy superintendent, and a TV reporter. (Thanks to Kathleen Clary-Cooke from the Benton-Franklin Health District for the report.)
El Monte, California
The Mountain View School District (MVSD) in El Monte celebrated National Walk to School Day with students, parents, teachers, staff members, volunteers and community leaders. Hundreds of walkers gathered at 6:30 a.m. at Zamora Park, Mt. View Park and Cielito Lindo before beginning their walk to their school site. The walking school buses were impressive as they lined the streets by school making their way to each campus. Led by adult volunteers and crossing guards, students showed their commitment to be physically active and healthy. Among the community members joining the group of walkers at Zamora Park was El Monte City Councilwoman, Victoria Martinez who walked with students from Twin Lakes School. - See more at: http://www.midvalleynews.com/sports/schools-sports/2015/10/14/mountain-view-school-district-schools-celebrate-national-walk-to-school-day/#sthash.zapkA4dx.dpuf
Watch a video from Walk to School Day in El Monte here. (Thanks to David Diaz from Day One for the report.)
“Bolivar schools participated in our third annual Walk to School Day on Oct. 7th, 2015. It began after we received funding from MODoT to build sidewalks connecting all of the schools to our town square. The participation has steadily grown each year, and this year we had about 250 children and adults. We are a small rural southwest Missouri community and are proud of the collaboration that exists in our town. Laura Boyd, (the Intermediate School principal the first year, she has since retired and is now a Parent Educator with PAT), is our champion. She is active and understands the connection between physical health and academia,” said Sandra Zanaboni of the Polk County Health Center.
Laura worked with the school for participation, including most of the teachers from her school, the United Methodist Church men's group, and Safe Kids Springfield. The Polk County Health Center provided Clif bars, water and juice for a small energy breakfast before the walk. "There was one mom with a child walking, two in a stroller and one on a pouch in front!!! We are really getting families on board!" said Sandra.
Congratulations to all for a wonderful day!