Johnson-Elementary-School-receives-national-grant-to-create-walking-school-bus-program-

Johnson Elementary School receives national grant to create walking school bus program

James Weldon Johnson Elementary School in New Orleans is one of 25 schools nationwide to receive a mini-grant from the National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) to create a walking school bus program during the spring semester of the 2010-2011 school year.

The $1,000 mini-grants awarded are for projects designed to encourage safe walking and bicycling to and from school. Supported by Louisiana Retired Teacher Association volunteers and the Hollygrove Walking Club members, Johnson Elementary School's walking school buses will be used for field trips as well as getting to and from school. Volunteer leaders will receive first-aid training and reflective safety vests, and will participate in walking field trips. Taking personal security into account, walking and bicycling route suggestions will be mapped.

"The walking school bus at Johnson Elementary offers a creative solution to the childhood obesity problem that's safe and fun. Additionally, by engaging trained, adult volunteers to lead the walking school bus, you're also increasing their opportunity for exercise while helping to reduce those worries for parents who have children participating in the program," said Linedda McIver, associate state director of multicultural outreach, AARP-LA. "AARP fully supports programs such as the walking school bus program that contributes to the livability and health of a community."

SRTS programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, federal and Tribal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to and from school.

The National Center, which serves as the clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program, received 304 eligible mini-grant applications from across the country in this third round of awards. Selected proposals distinguished themselves through their commitment and creative approaches to improve safety and increase walking and bicycling to and from school.

Proposed mini-grant activities identified ways in which SRTS programs can address school and community priorities such as the need to be physically active, concern for the environment, personal security, accessibility, and community building. In addition to developing adult-led student walking groups – also known as walking school buses – and teaching bicycle mechanics and maintenance, recipients plan to address concerns about crime and personal security and to engage students of all abilities to participate in safe walking and bicycling activities.

“The community support and student leadership recognized in these projects will strengthen SRTS efforts across the country and help establish active lifestyles and communities for the future,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

To view the full announcement visit National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Topics:   built environment , bike lanes , sidewalks , kidswalk coalition

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