Hey all. It’s been chaos around here. My roommate fractured both his heels, leaving him wheelchair bound and unable to drive for a minimum of three weeks – in our very not wheelchair minded home. Thus, I’ve been way busier than normal.
That said, since school is kicking off soon, I did want to stop in and tell you about a new “Walk and Bike to School” partnership initiative between CLIF Kid®, maker of organic snacks for active kids and Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a nationwide program advocating safe walking and bicycling to school to improve children’s lifestyles.
This new partnership initiative, made for schools nationwide is all about encouraging kids to get outside and be active, something Clif Kid is no stranger to. Jennifer Yun, brand director at CLIF Kid notes, “We know it is essential to help build healthy, active communities, and kids participating at this age can be a catalyst for healthy change. We’re extremely proud to be a part of this program and moving toward a healthier 2012/13 school year.”
Safe Routes to School, also big on healthy, active kids wants to educate more kids and teens, not to mention parents, about the importance of exercise and the benefits of said exercise for everyone’s daily life. Safe Routes to School’s main goal is to create safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools. Originally designed to reverse the decline in children walking and bicycling to schools, Safe Routes to School is a program that stands a chance at helping to reverse rising childhood obesity statistics.
Why walk to school?
According to Safe Routes to School, “In 1969, approximately 50% of children walked or bicycled to school, with approximately 87% of children living within one mile of school walking or bicycling. Today, fewer than 15% of schoolchildren walk or bicycle to school.” Not only does this promote a country full of overweight, inactive kids, but nowadays, as much as 30% of morning traffic can be linked to parents driving their children to schools. Not healthy for kids and not great for the environment either.
Walking, riding, skateboarding and other kid-powered ways to get to school can help…
- Reduce childhood obesity rates – which are going up as we speak.
- Keep kids healthy – kids shouldn’t be cooped up inside all day.
- Reduce carbon – all that driving and idling in school parking lots is super bad.
- Save time – what could you be doing instead of driving all over the place? Lots I bet.
- Save money – on gas and auto deterioration.
- Increase fun – yes, activity is fun, something this generation of kids is missing out on big time.
- Create independent, confident kids – seriously, I’ve met so many kids and teens who are afraid to ride a city bus or walk to the park. Really? Help your kids develop strength and independence by NOT driving them everywhere they need to go.
- Reduce auto accidents - A safety analysis by the California Department of Transportation estimated that the safety benefit of SRTS was up to a 49% decrease in the childhood bicycle and pedestrian collision rates.
Need help and support?
Not sure how to get your kids walking, biking or otherwise transporting themselves to school? It’s not that hard and this program can help.
Parents can get a program toolkit, which includes a “how-to” guide on hosting a successful Walk and Bike to School Day, reflective stickers for bikes and helmets, event signage for schools, and a variety of CLIF Kid snacks for students. Toolkits are available through the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and a limited number are also through a contest hosted on the CLIF Kid Facebook page.
Think you can’t manage?
Of course, if you’re really motivated, you don’t even need a program like this or Walking School Bus. Though programs like this are useful, all you really need to get your kid to walk or bike or scooter to school, is some gumption. Give your kid a pair of shoes, and say, “Go walk to school!” It’s not that difficult.
Contact your local school or your city government to find out if your community already has a SRTS program in place. Local programs are often looking for volunteers for special events like “Walk and Bike to School Day” or individuals willing to help with “walking school buses”. If your community does not have a SRTS program, here’s how you can get a program started locally. Visit the SRTS Resource page for more info.
Lead image by Flickr User/Elizabeth/Table4Five