August 2014

Wellness Campaign

Alternatives to Transportation

Safe Routes to School

Farmington Walk and Roll

Written by Anngela Wakan, Coordinator

City of Farmington Safe Rotes to School

This article is part of a project of the local Community Health Improvement Council (CHIC). CHICs were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) with the goal of getting local citizens and county governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The local CHIC is conducting an on-going awareness campaign addressing all the areas that can potentially affect a person’s health. August has been designated by the CHIC as the month to bring awareness to Safe Routes to School in New Mexico.

 

The lazy days of summer seem to be coming to a close. The cues are everywhere, “Best Back to School Fashion,” “A+ Lunches,” and “Health Tips for Good Grades” are just some of the articles calling for attention. Everyone wants their child to start the year off on the right foot.  However, this year, consider the fact that the “best foot forward” may actually be a child’s walking or biking foot. Students who actively commute to school arrived refreshed, better able to focus, have improved grades, and cooperate more easily with teachers compared to those who do not.

 

Farmington Walk and Roll is the local entity of the national Safe Routes to School program. Our goal is to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children to walk and roll to school.  Communities and schools are walking and biking as the first step to change community culture and to create options for getting around that are more inviting for everyone, both young and old. Here’s why:

 

It’s Fun! - Walking and bicycling bring a sense of joy and independence.

 

Healthier Habits - The trip to school is a chance for children (and adults!) to get the exercise they need.

 

Cleaner Environment - Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions.

 

Promoting Safety - Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety.

 

Community Benefits - Encouraging walking and bicycling to school can help build support for infrastructure improvements, boost sense of community, reduce traffic congestion, and improve neighborhood connections.

 

Parents often cite safety issues as one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school. One way to address these concerns is to start a Walking School Bus in your neighborhood, a fun creative way for kids to enjoy the walk to school with adult supervision. They get to enjoy fresh air, time with friends, and interacting with a caring adult as they get to know their neighborhood and community.

 

If a parent has to drive their students to school, try parking a few blocks away to enjoy a quick walk to class. Alternately, if a child rides the bus, an idea to work with school officials could be to park the bus further away, and have volunteers meet and walk bussed children the rest of the way.

 

Walking and biking to and from school provides a great way for children to get the recommended amount of exercise needed to stay fit, while also developing healthy habits to last a lifetime.  October 8, 2014 is International Walk to School Day. Register your event for kids to earn prizes, or find out more information at www.farmingtonwalkandroll.org.

 

 

Contact Anngela Wakan at srts@fmtn.org

2014 August 05

KSJE 90.9 FM

The Scott Michlin Morning Program

 

Interview with

Anngela Wakan

Link to

Farmington Walk and Roll

Safe Routes to School

farmingtonwalkandroll.org

100 W. Broadway, Farmington, NM, 87401   -   gallensjsci@gmail.com   -   (505) 599-1492 Office   -   (505) 599-1493 Fax

© 2014 by Greg Allen and San Juan Safe Communities Initiative.