Blanco County News
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International Walk To School Day Is October 8, 2008
Children Around The Globe Walk Toward A Lifetime Of Healthy Habits
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 • Posted August 26, 2008

Blanco’s Safe Routes to School Program is sponsoring Blanco Schools’ first year of participating in the 2008 International Walk to School Day. All students in the Elementary and Middle Schools will walk in the neighborhoods as part of the curriculum on Oct. 8. Students are encouraged to walk or ride a bike to School on that Wednesday.

Blanco was awarded a Safe Routes to School Grant to encourage walking and investigate possible sidewalk routes to the Middle School and Elementary School. An engineering study is being done for sidewalks down 7th St with branches to the Elementary School. For more information or if you wish to volunteer to help with the event on Oct 8 contact Martha Gosnell 833 0586.

On Wednesday, October 8, schoolchildren from all 50 states will join thousands across the world who are making the commitment to lead healthier lifestyles by walking or bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day.

“We’re seeing encouraging evidence that more and more schools are holding Walk to School Day events as catalysts to getting kids up and active all year long,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Walking and bicycling to school can benefit children in a variety of ways. A number of parents and teachers have commented that children arrive more alert and ready for the day when they walk to school. Public health officials have pointed to physical activity and safe places to walk and bicycle as factors in curbing the obesity epidemic among America’s youth.

In addition to physical activity, Walk to School programs emphasize the importance of other issues such as pedestrian safety, traffic congestion surrounding schools and concern for the environment.

“It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity and the need for safe places to walk and bike. The idea is to walk to school together with a purpose – to promote health, safety, physical activity, a sense of community and concern for the environment,” added Marchetti.

The 2008 event marks the 12th International Walk to School Day. The event began in the U.S. with one school in Chicago in 1997 and has grown to more than 5,000 schools in the U.S. Worldwide, this year an estimated 4 million families and community leaders will participate in 42 countries.

Many Walk to School events are conducted as part of Safe Routes to School programs – sustained, community efforts to improve the health and well-being of children by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier and more enjoyable.

In July 2005, Congress passed federal legislation that established a national Safe Routes to School program. The program dedicates a total of $612 million towards Safe Routes from 2005 to 2009.

Established in May 2006 with funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The Center strives to equip Safe Routes to School programs with the knowledge and technical information to implement safe and successful strategies. The Center serves as the coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the U.S.

Participating Countries

Africa, Europe, South America, Kenya, Belgium, Argentina, Namibia, Croatia, Brazil, Nigeria, Cyprus, Chile, South Africa, Czech Republic, Columbia, France, Asia, Germany, North America, China, Greece, Canada, India, Iceland, Mexico, Nepal, Ireland, United States, Philippines, Israel, Blanco, Texas, South Korea, Italy, Taiwan, Liechtenstein, Central America, Malta, Cuba, Australasia, Norway, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Sweden, Fiji, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, (Scotland, England, Wales)

About International Walk to School Day

• Walk to School Day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place. In 2000, these three countries joined together to create International Walk to School Day.

• In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.

• The National Center for Safe Routes to School serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the U.S.

• Today, more than 5,000 schools in the U.S. participate in International Walk to School Day. Nearly 4 million people participate in 42 countries as part of International Walk to School.

• Walk to School Day began as a simple idea – children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity, sense of community and concern for the environment.

• Organizations supporting International Walk to School Day in the U.S. include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

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