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Walk to School Day 2014

Walk to School Day 2014

A brisk twenty-five degree morning greeted more than 250 parents, students, staff, district administration, and public officials who took to the streets of Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. With gold leaves falling, frost on the ground, and less and less visible light youth still walk or bike to school, and wait at bus stops, often on busy roads.

“Safety. It’s about teaching our kids how to safely navigate their way safely when they are using the local streets,” said John Pothast, Redoubt Elementary principal. “For the parents, it’s about reinforcing to them that we share their concerns for their children’s safety as they walk or ride to and from school, and demonstrate to them, and the children, that we’re in partnership with them to teach kids how to be safe. Finally, this event is also about raising awareness in the local community about the importance to watch out for our kids when they are driving. It’s so easy to miss a little boy or girl when they are walking alone on the sidewalk in the dark, but it’s really hard to miss 150 people walking in mass down the sidewalk. This event is a great physical image to send to our community about watching out for pedestrians while driving.”

With the diversity of schools in the KPBSD, it’s not feasible or safe to walk or bike to several of our schools. In the central peninsula, Redoubt Elementary, Soldotna Elementary, and Soldotna Montessori schools participated in the annual Walk to School Day in Soldotna. West homer Elementary also held a walk the same day, and Sterling Elementary will hold their walk on October 8, 2014. More than 250,000 children across the United States participate in the annual event to learn safe walking skills and to encourage the creation of safe walking environments. In the Soldotna area, safety risks have been identified during past walks, and addressed to make walking to school safer. A recent example is putting up flashing lights and road marking in front of Redoubt Elementary.

Everyone received a clip-on reflector for his or her jacket, and during the gathering to begin the day, prizes, hot cocoa, and snacks were provided. More walkers are now wearing ear pods, texting, and talking when crossing streets or waiting at bus stops. Together we can become more aware and increase safety when we pay attention! Safe walking habits to cross an intersection or round-about were practiced:

  • At an intersection, stop to look left, right, and then left again
  • Before stepping from the curb make sure vehicles have stopped
  • Make eye contact with drivers and receive a nod or hand wave before crossing

“An important point of this event is to demonstrate that we value safety, exercise, and being in the great outdoors,” said Teri Diamond, Soldotna Elementary principal. “Even when it is so chilly!” Furthermore, “We value spending time with parents, students, and community leaders to support and promote safety and activity for the children of our community. These events develop cohesiveness and build relationships that create connections for our students. It models what is important for our students as well, and shows them that they are an important part of something bigger.”

TIP: Contact Jane Fellman with Safe Kids if you would like to receive free reflective tape or a reflective zipper pull tab for your child’s jacket. The reflective tape increases visibility. Call 907-714-4539, or email safekids@cpgh.org.

Thank you to everyone who participated and coordinated the event, especially Sharon Hale, Lauri Lingafelt, Jane Fellman, and the Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula Coalition.

Links
Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula
Walk and Bike to School Day       
State of Alaska Safe Routes to School Program  
Request free reflector tape from Alaska Injury Prevention Center (AIPC)





















 
 
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