By Zoe Harris, Feet First
Every October, students and families across the world celebrate getting to school without a car. International Walk to School Month, IWALK, promotes health, safety and community by reminding us all of the joys and benefits found in the simple act of walking to school. So far, nearly 4,000 schools in the United States have registered their IWALK campaigns.
IWALK events are up and running across Seattle with many more to begin on Walk to School Day, October 9th. Students at Olympic Hills Elementary just barely missed the torrential rain last Tuesday on their weekly walking event, “Two Feet Tuesdays.” Apple Corps supervisor Samantha Brumfield will be joining next Tuesday dressed as the Feet First Chicken. Roxhill Elementary had an impressive turnout on its first “Fuel Free Friday.” Many families joined parent-led Walking School Buses. Upon arrival students at both schools receive a toe token for their backpack and a punch on their “frequent walking cards.”
At Feet First we are hosting our second annual IWALK Challenge where schools across Washington can win prizes and recognition for their IWALK events. Last year, Saddle Mountain Elementary School in the rural Wahluke School District won the grand prize after three elementary schools joined together for a one day walking event. Over 900 people participated and each student was given a certificate signed by all three principals. The 4th and 5th graders at West Seattle Elementary led an IWALK event last year and got their peers walking and biking to school. For their hard work they received 35 pairs of sneakers. We are excited to see what this year holds!
Seattle schools working to start or bolster a Safe Routes to School Program should look into the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Mini Grants. Grants of up to $1,000 can be used for student safety patrol, Walk to School Day events, pedestrian education campaigns and much more. Applications are due October 25th.