(SAVANNAH, GA) Healthy Savannah is encouraging Savannah area children to walk or bike to school on October 8, in observation of International Walk to School Day. This is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day.
“Walking or bicycling to school can be fun as well as feasible,” said Paula Kreissler, Director of Healthy Living and Community Development, Healthy Savannah and YMCA of Coastal Georgia. “For families who live close enough to their schools, walking to school can be a time for students and parents to spend some quality time with each other. They can also get to know their neighbors by forming groups to travel to school together.”
One of Healthy Savannah’s objectives is to create better conditions in Savannah for walking and biking to school. The Initiative was recently awarded $150,000 in grant funding from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation (HGF) Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to assist in furthering its goals of making Savannah a healthier place to live. The organization’s top three goals include the passing of the Complete Streets ordinance and completion of the Truman Linear Park Trail. The third objective, which encourages walking and biking to school, focuses on public education and improvements to bike paths and sidewalks leading to and surrounding neighborhood schools.
“While walking or biking to school is a healthy activity, parents should also take steps to ensure it’s a safe activity,” Kreissler cautioned. “Walkers and bicyclists need to wear bright clothing, with bicyclists wearing helmets, and be aware of and observe the rules of the road. Parents should also consider forming walking school buses and bike trains with other parents and community members.”
Walking school buses are groups of children who walk designated routes to school under adult supervision, sometimes picking up kids along the way just like a bus. Bicycle trains provide a fun and safe way for students to bike together in a group.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School suggests these ways for students, parents, families and schools to participate in International Walk to School Day:
- Walk or bicycle from home: Students and families who live close enough to walk or bicycle to school on a route that’s appropriate for these modes might join other families and form groups in their neighborhoods to travel to school together. This is the essence of Walk and Bike to School Days.
- Designated starting points: Families who live too far to walk or bicycle, families with limited routes for walking and bicycling, bus riders and children with disabilities could identify one or more locations where students and their families could gather to walk or bike to school together or where families can park and make their way to school when they’re ready.
- Walk or bike at school: Students who live too far to walk or bicycle, those with limited routes for walking and bicycling, bus riders and children with disabilities can walk at an assembly, during recess or as part of a class activity.
“Studies show that students who walk or bike to school can improve their health and start their day more focused, with less restless energy,” Kreissler added. “And parents who accompany their children have the added benefit of increasing their own health benefits as well.”
MORE INFORMATION INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY: International Walk to School Day began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record-breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate. For more information, visit walkbiketoschool.org or call 1-866-610-SRTS.
MORE INFORMATION ON HEALTHY SAVANNAH: Healthy Savannah Inc. is dedicated to making Savannah a healthier place to live. Launched in 2007 by (then) Mayor Otis Johnson, Healthy Savannah’s mission is to achieve a healthier community by creating and advocating for a variety of policies and programs to increase opportunities for citizens to engage in physical activity and consume a nutritious, balanced diet. Healthy Savannah supports programs for families, schools, businesses, and faith-based organizations. The leadership team is composed of people from all sectors of the community. Business owners, non-profit managers, government and public service staff, community organizers, and faith-based leaders all play a role in helping the vision of a healthy Savannah come to life.
For more information, contact:
Director of Healthy Living and Community Development, Healthy Savannah and YMCA of Coastal Georgia
Media inquiries, contact:
Carriage Trade PR