Healthy Savannah Supports Windsor Forest Elementary School “I Walk Event 2014”

(SAVANNAH, GA) Healthy Savannah encouraged Savannah area children to walk or bike to school on Wednesday, October 8, in observation of International Walk to School Day. This global event involved communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day.

Windsor Forest Elementary School participated in International Walk to School Day by holding the “I Walk Event 2014”. A group of students, parents, faculty and staff gathered at Woody’s Skate Park at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. The group carried signs and posters as they walked down two streets to the elementary school, being led by the Windsor Forest High School Band, Flag Team and Chatelaines. Community partners who participated included: Safe Routes to School Georgia, Safe Kids and Healthy Savannah.

“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.

“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.”

Carrying signs and posters, Windsor Forest Elementary School marches to school on Wednesday, Oct. 8 in observance of International Walk to School Day.

Carrying signs and posters, Windsor Forest Elementary School marches to school on Wednesday, Oct. 8 in observance of International Walk to School Day.

Lexus Axon, a 3rd Grader from Windsor Forest Elementary School, holds a sign to cars on Windsor Rd.

Lexus Axon, a 3rd Grader from Windsor Forest Elementary School, holds a sign to cars on Windsor Rd.

(Left to Right) Jordan Holmes, PE teacher at Windsor Forest Elementary School, and Paula Kreissler, Director of Healthy Savannah.

(Left to Right) Jordan Holmes, PE teacher at Windsor Forest Elementary School, and Paula Kreissler, Director of Healthy Savannah.

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:
Paula Kreissler
Director of Healthy Living and Community Development, Healthy Savannah and YMCA of Coastal Georgia
912-272-9494
Paula@healthysavannah.org

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Media inquiries, contact:
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com

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