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Archive for Monday, September 28, 2009

Local parents get grant to expand, improve ‘Walking School Bus’ program

Parents of students at the Sunflower School have received a $3,000 grant to pursue their plan for a walking school bus program. The program would encourage children to walk more safely.

September 28, 2009

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Leaders of an effort to help encourage children to walk safely to school will get $3,000 — and more — to help push the process forward.

Amerika Grewal, a member of the Sunflower School PTO’s Health and Safety Committee, learned Monday afternoon that Safe Kids USA had approved her grant application.

The $3,000 check is expected to arrive this week by FedEx.

“It’s more than just money,” said Grewal, whose committee works in partnership with Safe Kids Douglas County. “They’re giving us expertise, and it’s the guidance that’s as valuable — if not more valuable — than the allocated funds.”

Grewal has been busy organizing so-called “Walking School Bus” programs since the end of the last school year, when the Lawrence school district cut much of its financing for bus transportation.

Comments

BabyBear 5 years, 2 months ago

I cant wait to hear more about this walking school bus idea. which schools will be doing it? my kids go to cordley and crossing 19th is sometimes very scary.

bangaranggerg 5 years, 2 months ago

There's not even enough money in the budget for the janitor to eat mushrooms and hallucinate a 'Walking School Bus.'

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

YES! for the walking school bus.

This should be interesting and a little fun for all.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

Why do they need money to walk kids to school?

workinghard 5 years, 2 months ago

Doesn't Cordley have two crossing guards on 19th street? Where do your kids cross?

mdrndgtl 5 years, 2 months ago

Hahaha, hallucinate a Walking School Bus...

Blessed4x 5 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Kat. What could they possibly use money for? It's one neighbor walking another neighbor's kids to school. It would have been called common courtesy/sense in my day. Today it's called a "walking school bus" and deserves a government grant. Is it any wonder that the nation is plummeting headlong into bankruptcy?

mommydaycare 5 years, 2 months ago

But lets tell the whole truth here, have all of these parents been through backround checks? It's a very scary thought to think that there are people walking our children with no checks. Makes no sense!!!

gilly 5 years, 2 months ago

Several responders here are willing to criticize without knowledge or thought. Instead of knee-jerk opinionating and demonstrating a sorry lack of critical thinking skills, how about checking out the organization that made the grant? Use your Internet access and googling ability to find the web site:

Here's the web site for Safe Kids USA: http://www.usa.safekids.org/

Take a look: the organization that made the grant is not a government organization.

If you wonder why expertise is important, why don't you ask Amerika Grewal why it is necessary? Even better, why don't you ask what kind of expertise is so important that the organization would offer it?

If you bother to do a little research, and if you conclude that a program like this a boondoggle, you could offer criticism that is reasoned and helpful.

Otherwise, quit wasting community goodwill by posting uninformed nonsense revealing your hopeless, uncharitable, and unfounded worldview.

mommydaycare 5 years, 2 months ago

It is a fact that there are parents that were just given walking school vests at a meeting with no backround checks and walking children. That is sad!!

BigPrune 5 years, 2 months ago

KU students ride the T bus for free, but the little kids have to walk to school in an imaginary school bus?

Momofallboys 5 years, 2 months ago

Mommydaycare you seem so bitter for no real reason. I am very excited about what is going on with this and I hope not only do I hope that it leads to a safer walk for our children but think of the health benefits of walking to school! If you look around you will see obese children even at the ages of 4. I just don't understand all the anger. If you are really interested in the subject than ask questions, don't just go saying bad things about something you have no idea about.

mommydaycare 5 years, 2 months ago

It's not anger, its called SAFETY!!! How do you start a program with no backround checks....does not make sense. This has nothing to do with obesity and everything about the safety of our children. If school bus drivers and anyone who comes in contact with our children need are required backround checks then why was this not brought up when this program began. I am a mom of four children, I am not new to this game, but thanks anyway for your comments.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

Consumer1 - What paid staff?? These are parents who take time off work to make sure their kids, and other people's kids, get to school safely. Remember, that used to be the responsibility of the paid staff of the school districts, but then they decided that wasn't profitable enough. I'm not sure, but I believe these funds are to help programs like this get started. They pay for the safety vests of the volunteers, crossing signs and publications to raise awareness so that more parents can know there is a safe way for kids to get to school. And probably ask for more parents to volunteer. I think it's great and I wish Amerika nothing but the best.

ralphralph 5 years, 2 months ago

This is just bizarre. We need government money for kids to walk to school? Jeezpuhleez! It can't be long until we can count on The Government to hang out in the toity and help us wipe.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

What do you mean when you say they - the parents? I don't think they intend to become a not for profit agency. I think they want to walk their kids to school. This was a need left unattended by the bussing company when they decided that they only wanted to bus kids outside of the 2 mile area - which is all your tax dollars will pay for. These parents aren't seeing this as a business opportunity, this is parents of children who go to a school getting together and walking kids to school. They ask for and received a little help in getting the recourses they need to get this up and running. From what I can tell, Safe Kids USA (the funder of the grant) is not a government agency. They are a group of companies that donate money "whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under". Your tax dollars are not funding this in any way, shape or form.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

Not a goverment agency people - http://www.usa.safekids.org/index.cfm

From their "about us" page...

Safe Kids USA is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under.

More than 450 coalitions in 16 countries bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families.

Safe Kids Worldwide was founded in 1987 as the National SAFE KIDS Campaign by Children’s National Medical Center with support from Johnson & Johnson. Safe Kids Worldwide is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry Consumer, I may not have been clear. Yes, I understand your concerns; I just think they are unfounded in this particular instance.

As for next year; I imagine that some of the same parents will walk kids to school. However, the group may loose some parents whose kids go on to junior high. But, don't worry; more parents will come along next year as their kids get old enough to go to elementary school and those parents will also want to make sure their kids get to school safely.

Who’s responsible for the money received – I’d be willing to bet that will be done by whoever signed the application. To quote the article – “Amerika Grewal, a member of the Sunflower School PTO’s Health and Safety Committee, learned Monday afternoon that Safe Kids USA had approved her grant application.” I’m not sure how Amerika will deal with the tax ramifications. Safe Kids is already a not for profit.

As for your concern that someday the City may be asked to provide additional money – you may be right. It sure would be nice if the City could get out there and paint some crosswalks on City streets. Otherwise, I think the City has pretty well decided it does not intend to spend any money on the next generation of people who are currently non voters. And the School Board won’t either. So these parents have solved their problem in a cheap and effective way while not burdening the tax payers’ one red cent by utilizing money that has been donated for use by people keeping kids safe. Do you see where I’m going with this? I think these parents and Amerika deserve a big ol’ “Good on ya!!”

Christina Hoffman 5 years, 2 months ago

So why are parents that want to walk thier children to school getting money? If i want to walk my kid to school and may be the neighbor kids i do??? I thought thats what neighbors do look out for each other...quit wasting money and parents just buck up and walk your kids to school. if you help your neighbor most will help you back at some time. Also how hard is it to walk safely? come on your adults do you really need training to help children cross the streets?

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

Yeah!! Employers of parents who have kids in school, just buck up and let your employees come in late. Everyday. And leave early too!! Everyday. And extra special early on Wednesdays.

Really_again, if you want to walk your kids, and the kids next door, to school then go ahead. This situation is just a little bit bigger than that.

No, neighbors don't look out for each other anymore than employers look out for employees. Or USD 497 looks out for students.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

notyourmom (Anonymous) says…

What do you mean when you say they - the parents? I don't think they intend to become a not for profit agency. I think they want to walk their kids to school. This was a need left unattended by the bussing company when they decided that they only wanted to bus kids outside of the 2 mile area - which is all your tax dollars will pay for. These parents aren't seeing this as a business opportunity, this is parents of children who go to a school getting together and walking kids to school. They ask for and received a little help in getting the recourses they need to get this up and running. From what I can tell, Safe Kids USA (the funder of the grant) is not a government agency. They are a group of companies that donate money “whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under”. Your tax dollars are not funding this in any way, shape or form. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ While I was not happy about the decision regarding the busing, you have a couple of things that need to be corrected here.

First, it is not the "paid school staff''s" responsibility to get the children to school. That is the parents' responsibility. (from your previous post)

Second, the busing company does not have a choice in this matter. It is not a need they are neglecting. It was a choice made by the school board to drop their services. State law mandates that busing be provided for students 2.5 miles from the school. You should be upset with the legislators.

I am still curious as to the need for a grant of any amount of money, let alone $3000.

Why do parents need a grant to walk their kids to school? What resources could you possibly need?

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

notyourmom (Anonymous) says…

Yeah!! Employers of parents who have kids in school, just buck up and let your employees come in late. Everyday. And leave early too!! Everyday. And extra special early on Wednesdays. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So arrange for before and after school care. It is what employed parents have to do anyway. Why are you concerned about this now? Employed parents already had to deal with that issue well before the school bus one.

Boys and Girls club is also non-profit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ notyourmom (Anonymous) says…Really_again, if you want to walk your kids, and the kids next door, to school then go ahead. This situation is just a little bit bigger than that.

No, neighbors don't look out for each other anymore than employers look out for employees. Or USD 497 looks out for students. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So it is okay for individual parents to walk their kids (and maybe a neighbor kids too) to school for free but this "walking school bus" needs a grant to do so?

It does not make sense. What financial need do they have to walk a group of children to school?

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

Wow, you guys are really bitter. I can't explain to you why this is a really great thing if you are unwilling to understand that it is.

I am really mad at the legislators, Katara. And the busing company. And the school board. And the city for all the ways they have each let our kids down. Schools love to push the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, but their side of the village is woefully lacking. And the USD has shown time and time again that it hates working parents. Yes, it is my responsibility to get them to school, and myself to work. I am aware of this. And I manage to do so. However, there a lot of hardworking parents in this town doing their best for their families and still missing the mark. Have you priced before and after school programs recently? I was paying $205 a WEEK for my 2 kids until recently. And the Boys and Girls club?? By the time that waiting list dwindles down to actually accept new kids, those kid's kids will need care. Things are hard all over and this is a program that matters - and is finding a way to get what they need to make it happen! That’s not something to boo hiss all over. It’s a really good thing!!

I think it's really great that this is happening by people in this community, to meet a need in this community.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 2 months ago

When is the last time some of you idiots bought a roll of stamps or addressed a few hundred envelopes. These things just do not occur without coordination, even with volunteers.

congrats to the parents who are doing something in reaction to the loss of the buses instead of just complaining. And yes, it costs money for vests, and booklets and printing, and postage, and mailing, etc etc etc.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

This is not a tax payer issue. I think its swell that you were able to parent your child. Just like I do. Just like a lot of people do. No one is trying to make this your problem. The funds were donated for use. The funds were needed for use. The funds were requested and the request was approved. This is a do gooder doing good. You are worrying that someday, there might possibility, may be, perhaps someone asking for tax dollars, and completely missing the good news for today.

That money was donated by corporations to be used to keep kids safe. Those donations will be put to good use. No one has their hand in your pocket. No one is asking anything of you. This is just a simple, good thing. Relax.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and consumer. I am a single mom of three who goes to work everyday. I also worked and went to school to get my four year degree. I aslo take care of my children because it's the right thing to do, not so I can feel special about what I do. And my son was hit by a car in a crosswalk last year while walking to school in this school district. The person who hit him never stopped to see if he was okay. He was in second grade.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

notyourmom (Anonymous) says…

Wow, you guys are really bitter. I can't explain to you why this is a really great thing if you are unwilling to understand that it is.

I am really mad at the legislators, Katara. And the busing company. And the school board. And the city for all the ways they have each let our kids down. Schools love to push the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, but their side of the village is woefully lacking. And the USD has shown time and time again that it hates working parents. Yes, it is my responsibility to get them to school, and myself to work. I am aware of this. And I manage to do so. However, there a lot of hardworking parents in this town doing their best for their families and still missing the mark. Have you priced before and after school programs recently? I was paying $205 a WEEK for my 2 kids until recently. And the Boys and Girls club?? By the time that waiting list dwindles down to actually accept new kids, those kid's kids will need care. Things are hard all over and this is a program that matters - and is finding a way to get what they need to make it happen! That’s not something to boo hiss all over. It’s a really good thing!!

I think it's really great that this is happening by people in this community, to meet a need in this community. ~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes. I have priced before and after school programs. I have several children. I also work. This is not a new problem so I am not understanding why you are so bitter about this or why now you are suddenly concerned or think those programs have any bearing on getting your kids to school.

Is the walking school bus also now a before and after school program? My understanding is that it was simply a way to get your kids to school. You seem to imply that it is more.

You are incorrect about the Boys and Girls club. If you get your applications in on time, there has not been much of an issue with a waiting list. The only priority that is given is to kids that participated in the program before.

I am just curious as to why this group of people needs $3000 to walk their kids to school. You have to apply for grants and that means that this "walking school bus" group applied for money and was given some. I just would like to know why they feel they need to have money for something many have been doing for years without funding.

Not sure why you are mad at the busing company. They can't force the school district to use their services.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

Boston_Corbett (Anonymous) says…

When is the last time some of you idiots bought a roll of stamps or addressed a few hundred envelopes. These things just do not occur without coordination, even with volunteers.

congrats to the parents who are doing something in reaction to the loss of the buses instead of just complaining. And yes, it costs money for vests, and booklets and printing, and postage, and mailing, etc etc etc. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It doesn't cost to put flyers in the Thursday envelopes. No need for mailing. Printing? Several parents volunteer to use their printers for flyers. Others can contribute money to those parents using up their ink if they feel the cause so valuable. Or rotate parents to print the flyers so everyone is contributing equally on the printing costs.

Why do you need booklets? Are there instructions on how to walk your child to school now?

Vests? Are you kidding me? Buy a an orange sweatshirt from Hobby Lobby or Micheals and get some iron-ons to put "Parent Volunteer" on it if it is that important.

There is no need for a $3000 grant for this stuff.

notyourmom 5 years, 2 months ago

I am not suddenly concerned, I have been all along.

No, it is not a before and after school program. It's just a way for parents to group up and help get kids to school safely.

Everyone who has not had kids in B&GC goes on a waiting list.

Not sure why you think that getting the money is wrong.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

notyourmom (Anonymous) says…

This is not a tax payer issue. I think its swell that you were able to parent your child. Just like I do. Just like a lot of people do. No one is trying to make this your problem. The funds were donated for use. The funds were needed for use. The funds were requested and the request was approved. This is a do gooder doing good. You are worrying that someday, there might possibility, may be, perhaps someone asking for tax dollars, and completely missing the good news for today.

That money was donated by corporations to be used to keep kids safe. Those donations will be put to good use. No one has their hand in your pocket. No one is asking anything of you. This is just a simple, good thing. Relax. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Why were the funds requested? Do you really believe that walking your children to school in a group needs $3000 for expenses?

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

notyourmom (Anonymous) says…

I am not suddenly concerned, I have been all along.

No, it is not a before and after school program. It's just a way for parents to group up and help get kids to school safely.

Everyone who has not had kids in B&GC goes on a waiting list.

Not sure why you think that getting the money is wrong. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So it is just a way to get kids to and from school. So why the need for $3000?

I've not been on the waiting list for B&GC. Maybe it has to do more with getting your application in ASAP if you hadn't already have children attending.

I think getting money when it is not necessary to have it is wrong. It takes away from other groups who actually might have a real need for it.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

"Safe Kids and FedEx have also provided grants to more than 40 communities to work with city leaders, traffic engineers and metropolitan planning organizations to improve safety for child pedestrians at high-risk locations."

From the link someone provided earlier for Safe Kids.

So this has nothing to do with the walking school bus. Nice job, LJW to throw in something that had nothing to do with the grant.

Still curious what reasons the grant application gave to get this money though.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

Multidisciplinary (Anonymous) says…

LOL…

I was sitting here…reading all of the arguing…

and I suddenly got the urge to get up and just go pick up the damn kids in my van.

Has anyone else considered this? Worked pretty well when we had 26 kids on our street. Too many too little to walk, if any moms drove, she loaded up her van. Took turns, or not, some figured, 'Hey, I'm going anyway, might as well fill up the van!” Helped get their own kids ready faster because they got to see their friends before school.

Must admit, we did have that 'It takes a village thing' going on. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dunno.

We walked in a group with 1 or 2 parents tagging along, rain or shine. When the older kids got older, the parents weaned themselves from the group and we walked to school ourselves.

Car rides were for really bad storms or below zero temperatures.

It was a 20 minute walk so maybe what? 1 or 1 1/2 miles at the most? It may have been a shorter distance and we just dilly-dallied along the way.The moms usually had their travel mugs of coffee and chitchatted while walking us to school.

Of course, more families were able to have 1 parent stay at home then so who knows.

Times may have changed but the actual cost of walking your kid has not. It is still free to do so.

WhiteDog 5 years, 2 months ago

I've never felt so crappy after reading a feel-good story. Amerika has done a marvelous thing and I hope it is successfully expanded to all the schools that need it.

All the rest of you need to go kick some puppies or something.

sandersen 5 years, 2 months ago

Fortunately, some of us with kids walking across very dangerous and high-traffic areas have been lucky enough to revive the old pay-to-ride routes that were offered in the previous years. Same cost as before, my kids are home safe and I get to keep my job.

Where there's a will...

Definitely worth every penny.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 2 months ago

I guess Katara and consumer would also do away with crossing guards.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

WhiteDog (Anonymous) says… I've never felt so crappy after reading a feel-good story. Amerika has done a marvelous thing and I hope it is successfully expanded to all the schools that need it.

All the rest of you need to go kick some puppies or something. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Either LJW or Amerika has misled you all. I suspect it is more on the LJW side since they are not exactly known for accurate reporting. The website itself tells you what the FedEx grants through Safekids are for and they are not for the walking school bus.

So what is the $3000 for? You all want USD497 to be accountable for the money it spends. Are parent groups exempt from this?

The grant money from the Safekids program (sponsored by FedEX) is for...

"Safe Kids and FedEx have also provided grants to more than 40 communities to work with city leaders, traffic engineers and metropolitan planning organizations to improve safety for child pedestrians at high-risk locations." http://www.usa.safekids.org/tier2_rl.cfm?folder_id=3124

None of which are involved in the walking school bus things that parents are doing. The city has no involvement in the walking school bus.

So thanks, LJW, for publishing yet another inaccurate article that does nothing except to get people worked up. It is nice to see you've sold your journalistic integrity for a couple more clicks on the website.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

Boston_Corbett (Anonymous) says… I guess Katara and consumer would also do away with crossing guards. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Crossing guards are provided by the city and are not associated with the walking school buses that the parents have organized. But thanks for injecting more misinformation into the conversation. And thanks for assigning a position to me that I have not taken.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 2 months ago

Katara,

Crossing guards and this walking program both are for safety. The walking program is being advocated specifically because of high traffic intersections like Inverness & 23rd for example where there are now tons of young ones crossing and NO crossing guards.

You are complaining about a piddling amount of money which is not even tax money while you argue like it is. If public money should not be spent on the function of safety of getting children to school, you would not support crossing guards, paid for by anyone.

Katara 5 years, 2 months ago

Boston_Corbett (Anonymous) says… Katara,

Crossing guards and this walking program both are for safety. The walking program is being advocated specifically because of high traffic intersections like Inverness & 23rd for example where there are now tons of young ones crossing and NO crossing guards.

You are complaining about a piddling amount of money which is not even tax money while you argue like it is. If public money should not be spent on the function of safety of getting children to school, you would not support crossing guards, paid for by anyone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And again you are assigning me a position that I have never taken nor am I taking now. It would be nice if you would halt putting words into my mouth.

The walking school bus is not a program. It is a group of parents that band together to walk their children to school. It is not sponsored by the school. It is not sponsored by the PTOs. Please stop implying that this concept is the same as a school sponsored function or is on the same level as the city provided crossing guards.

I understand very well this is not taxpayer monies and I understand very well what a grant is. One must apply for a grant. I would like to know what reasons this grant was applied for. I would like to know where the money is going to.

You really want us to believe that walking a child or children to school costs $3000?

If you look over the website for the group that provided the grant, you will notice that the funding is for communities to work with the city, traffic engineers, etc. These people have nothing to do with a walking school bus.

So again, why is $3000 needed? What expenses could a walking school bus possibly have to justify that grant?

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