Walk to School Day Celebrates National Efforts to Promote More Walkable, Active Communities

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The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida, Sixteen Schools in the Region, and Thousands of Events Across the U.S. Will Recognize the Role Walking and Bicycling to School Can Play in Student Health and Safety

We encourage parents, students, educators and community members to contact their local school to see how they can make their communities healthier by supporting the International Walk to School Day.

On October 3rd, 2012 thousands of students, parents and communities representing more than 3,200 schools across America will be celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school by participating in International Walk to School Day.

Now in its 15th year, this one-day event in the U.S. is a part of an international effort in more than 40 countries to celebrate the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school and to encourage more families to consider getting out of the car and onto their feet on the way to school in October.

International Walk to School Day has a strong presence in Northeast Florida with sixteen local schools registered to participate in the walk. Several of those schools are also conducting long-term Safe Routes to School programs with infrastructure and education initiatives designed to facilitate safe walking and biking to school.

The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida is also kicking off its Discovering Brentwood project on International Walk to School Day. This project, in addition to making physical changes to the built environment through sidewalks, street crossings, street signs, traffic signals and bicycle lanes, has a significant education component to promote healthy and safe lifestyles. There is a deficit in pedestrian and bicycling safety education for elementarty and middle school students.

This program combines changing the environment to facilitate students walking and bicycling to school safely and augments the critical education needed around healthy and safe lifestyles. In an economy where public schools need additional resources and community support, this program offers both. Students, parents, and community volunteers will be occupying students on the morning walk.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for Walk to School Day in the U.S. Safe Routes to School programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. Safe Routes to School activities range from building sidewalks, to getting drivers to slow down in school zones, to encouraging students to take active trips to school with school-wide competitions. On average, at least 50 percent of Walk to School Day events are part of an ongoing SRTS program each year.

"We congratulate all the schools participating throughout the Northeast Florida region and the nation, and we encourage parents, students, educators and community members to contact their local school to see how they can make their communities healthier by supporting the International Walk to School Day," said Dawn Emerick, Ed.E, President and CEO of the Health Planning Council. "We also encourage drivers to take special care on October 3rd in light of the many children that will be walking and biking to school on that day."

The Northeast Florida schools registered for International Walk to School Day are:

  • Julia Landon College Preparatory and Leadership Development School
  • SP Livingston Elementary, Jacksonville, FL
  • Eugene Butler Middle School, Jacksonville, FL
  • Brentwood Elementary, Jacksonville, FL
  • Hendricks Avenue Elementary, Jacksonville, F
  • Bunnell Elementary School, Bunnell, FL
  • Palm Terrace Elementary School, Daytona Beach, FL
  • Westside Elementary School, Daytona Beach, FL
  • DeBary Elementary School, DeBary, FL
  • Discovery Elementary School, Deltona, FL
  • Pride Elementary School, Deltona, FL
  • Spirit Elementary School, Deltona, FL
  • Timbercrest Elementary School, Deltona, FL
  • Ormond Beach Elementary School, Ormond Beach, FL
  • Cypress Creek Elementary School, Port Orange, FL
  • South Daytona Elementary School, Daytona Beach, FL

To view the names and locations of all registered U.S. schools participating in Walk to School Day 2012, visit http://www.walktoschool.org/who/index.cfm.

For past photos of International Walk to School Day activities, visit: http://www.iwalktoschool.org/photos

About The National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit http://www.saferoutesinfo.org.

About Walk to School Day
Walk to School Day was founded in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and children together to build awareness for communities to be more walkable. By 2002, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in all 50 states and the District of Columbia joined nearly 3 million walkers around the world to celebrate the second annual International Walk to School Day. The one-day event has now grown to a month-long celebration. In 2009, students and parents from over 3,500 U.S. schools joined millions of Walk to School Day and Month participants worldwide. The reasons for walking have grown just as quickly as the event itself. Whether a community's concern is safer and improved streets, healthier habits, or the environment, Walk to School Day events are aimed at bringing forth permanent change to encourage a more walkable, bikeable America - one community at a time. For more information, visit http://www.walktoschool.org.

About the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida
The Mission of the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida, Inc. is to develop regional, unbiased research and evidence-based initiatives that promote healthy communities, lifestyles and improve accessible, quality health care. http://www.hpcnef.org

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