This is International Walk To School Day. Organizers of the effort say at least 150 schools in Iowa will be taking part with many thousands of kids on the sidewalks and roadsides, hoofing their way to class. Troy Carter, Safe Routes to School Director at the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says the day’s goals are simple.
Carter says, “We would like to see more kids getting out, exercising and just having a good time realizing that they can walk to school safely.” The event introduces children to the physical, social and environmental benefits of walking or biking to school, while increasing school spirit and fostering a sense of community.
The Safe Routes to School program is designed to do what its name says, find and develop pathways kids can take in order to safely reach their schools. Sometimes, there’s better safety in numbers as kids can make their way together.
“We also provide our Walking School Bus and a lot of schools participate around the state of Iowa and they walk anywhere from two to five days a week, up to two or three miles to school one way,” Carter says. While this is Walk To School Day, plenty of Iowa’s youth will be pedaling two-wheelers to school.
“Biking, we really focus on that in May for the Bike To School Day, but biking is also a healthy option to get kids to and from school,” Carter says. “It’s all about wellness and trying to get kids more active.” Walking or bicycling to school is any easy way to promote physical activity, he says, and to help reduce the prevalence of obesity.