Kids-parade-sidewalks-streets-for-Walk-to-School-Day

Kids parade sidewalks, streets for Walk to School Day

Marching proudly, siblings Darriella Watson, 6, and Derrick Watson, 7, led a small group down their neighborhood streets to ARISE Academy in October.

Although walking to school is nothing new for the brother and sister team, this particular day was special. They were joining hundreds of other students, teachers, parents and public officials to celebrate International Walk to School Day.

ARISE Academy parent Demonte Bosman said she walks with her children, 9-year-old Zidikiyah and 8-year-old Kwesi Morrison, to and from school daily. Their walks not only give them an outlet for regular physical active, but also family time and learning.

“I enjoy just that one-on-one time, teaching them about their neighborhood, how to cross the street, how to interact with their neighbors," Bosman said.

This year's Walk to School Day celebration on Oct. 5 grew to 14 events at schools across the state. Locally that included ARISE Academy, E.P. Harney Academy, the International School of Louisiana, and Medard H. Nelson Charter. In the U.S., Walk to School Day was celebrated at more than 3,500 schools. A total of 40 countries planned events.

Walk to School events promote safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of pedestrian safety, increasing physical activity among children, concern for the environment, and building connections between families, schools, and the broader community.

As more children are able to safely walk and bicycle to school, children and their communities benefit from reduced traffic congestion, better air quality and healthier lifestyles. More and more, children are sitting in classes or at home for long periods of time. Having an outlet for daily physical activity is a proven method for reducing the chances of being overweight, having diabetes or developing other chronic diseases.

For ARISE Academy and the International School of Louisiana, the Oct. 5 walking events were also components of larger Safe Routes to School programs paid for with public money through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The Safe Routes to School program allows schools and communities to retrofit roads, sidewalks, and bike paths to allow children to more safely walk and bicycle to school. Funding also supports education, promotion and enforcement campaigns.

For additional information, visit the KidsWalk Coalition at kidswalknola.org, International Walk to School in the USA at www.walktoschool.org, National Center for Safe Routes to School at www.saferoutesinfo.org, and International Walk to School at www.iwalktoschool.org.

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