Safe Routes + Walking Tuesdays = Healthy Kids
Print the story (PDF: 939KB/1 page)
With the help of Statewide Health Improvement Program, Fairmont’s Safe Routes to School program has become a staple of Fairmont students’ school day.
Beginning in 2010, the Safe Routes to School program in Fairmont was a hopeful discussion among local elementary schools, the Fairmont Policy Department, local hospital, newspaper and bus company as well as other business and community members. In 2012, the group’s mission resulted in wider crosswalks, more curb cuts, cross extra walking guards, pedestrian and bike safety education, and a Walking Tuesday program for local schools.
Walking Tuesday has become a weekly occurrence at four Fairmont elementary schools. Chaperones from the local Kiwanis Club led the group on a half mile walk two days per week. “It was up to the kids but we had about 90 percent participation. And we had a chaperone for each bus so kids had someone to walk with,” commented Lia Lambert, SHIP Community Specialist.
“The chaperones look forward to it and really get involved with the group,” commented Joe Burns, retired Fairmont teacher and Safe Routes to School leader. “Comradeship has developed between these groups…they chat together and laugh. You can’t believe how many times shoes become untied in a half mile walk,” chuckled Joe.
About 60 students participated in Safe Routes to School at least one of the weeks. Parents expressed relief that they can send their children off to walk or bike to school safely. Teachers are supportive too. According to Jessica Seide, Martin County SHIP affiliate, “The teachers are excited that kids are getting some physical activity in the morning because it helps them to concentrate more in the classroom.”