On the beautiful morning of April 22nd, the first Walking School Bus event was held at West Jasper Elementary School. About 40 students met at three different locations 6-7 blocks from the school and walked on into to school the rest of the way. There was large community support for this initiative from the police escort, to city council members and the City School Superintendent, Dr. Ann Jackson, joining the students on their walk.
The program focuses on safety and promoting walking as a mode of active transportation. It not only creates a safer, defined route for students who walk to school already, but also is meant to encourage other students to walk to school. Students arrive to school on time (reduces chronic absenteeism) and are able to eat school breakfast. It also allows socialization time and decreases the traffic at the school for drop-off and pick-up.
Safe Routes to School of Central Alabama (SRTS) encourages children to be more physically active by providing safe and supervised opportunities to walk to and from school. A joint initiative of United Way of Central Alabama and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, SRTS partners with schools to educate and encourage students to walk to school and advocates with cities to improve infrastructure to be more conducive for walking and biking. It is an arm of the National Safe Routes to Schools initiaitive and we are proud to be a part of this exciting program.
Keep an eye out for the next Walking School Bus in the fall and be a part of this wonderful opportunity to be active!