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Archive for Friday, April 8, 2011

New York School students board the ‘walking school bus’

Students from New York School helped kick off a Walking School Bus pilot program to promote a healthier lifestyle for children.

April 8, 2011

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Students and parent volunteers from New York Elementary walk together Friday afternoon along 11th Street as part of a communitywide Walking School Bus pilot program.  Bus leader Bonnie Cherry, left, holds up a stop sign as passengers on her bus crossed New Jersey Street.

Students and parent volunteers from New York Elementary walk together Friday afternoon along 11th Street as part of a communitywide Walking School Bus pilot program. Bus leader Bonnie Cherry, left, holds up a stop sign as passengers on her bus crossed New Jersey Street.

Students and parent volunteers from New York Elementary walk together Friday afternoon along 11th Street as part of a communitywide Walking School Bus pilot program.

Students and parent volunteers from New York Elementary walk together Friday afternoon along 11th Street as part of a communitywide Walking School Bus pilot program.

The eclectic pageantry may be catchy — shiny balloons attached to backpacks, Ric Averill picking at his banjo, a former mayor tagging along at the back — but it is a simple notion that draws fourth-graders Kellie Old Elk and Aryanna Meraz to board a new “walking school bus” at New York School, 936 N.Y.

“You can walk with a group and you can walk with your friends,” said Kellie, shuffling along, arm-in-arm, with Aryanna along a brick sidewalk south of the school. “You don’t have to walk by yourself.”

The girls joined 18 of their schoolmates and more than a dozen parents, volunteers and other supporters Friday for the school’s inaugural walking school bus, a program sponsored by Douglas County Housing Inc. and financed with a $1,500 grant from the LiveWell Lawrence Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation to pay for program expenses.

The pilot program is structured with a designated pedestrian “bus route” through east Lawrence, with scheduled “stops” along the route that runs between the school and the intersection of 15th Street and Haskell Avenue. Students walk as a group and are supervised by “bus drivers,” who are volunteers who receive pedestrian-safety training and undergo criminal background checks.

Kids get exercise. Parents take comfort that their children are safe. Families make connections that otherwise might never happen.

And Kellie, Aryanna and others can take part while doing what they enjoy most: Hanging out, having fun and passing the time with a word or two. Or three. Or four...

“It’s fun,” Kellie says, “because you have more people to talk to.”

Comments

Joshua Montgomery 3 years, 3 months ago

Reflective vests, coordination labor, stop signs, etc. it likely adds up.

Reminds me of running in formation. Run ahead, stand at ease, stop traffic, wait for the column to pass, run ahead.........lots of exercise.

Glad the kids are having fun. They need to think up some good jody calls :)

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Liberty275 3 years, 3 months ago

C130 rolling down the strip Airborne daddy gonna take a little trip With my (insert noun here) in my hand I'm gonna be a (insert adjective here) man

The first two lines can be substituted as follows:

Hi ho diddly bop wish I was back on the block With my (insert noun here) in my hand I'm gonna be a (insert adjective here) man

There you go kids. Singing cadence can be fun and creative!

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Centerville 3 years, 3 months ago

So much for 'march to a different drummer'. Now there's no walking to school unless it's in a cadre.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

Considering the wolves roaming our streets, I know I would rather have my child safe in the cadre than being Red Riding Hood wolf bait.

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notanota 3 years, 3 months ago

Kids are in more danger from the traffic, which is why this is a good idea.

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kugrad 3 years, 3 months ago

As for costs, this is just the first route of the 'bus.' As I understand it, they plan to add routes next year. There have been a lot of copies coming home with information to parents and a lot of recruitment and so forth, so I imagine those costs add up. Still, a lot of the people involved are volunteering. It isn't as simple as it appears.

Kids are not required to go with the bus if they walk, they may choose. Some children who otherwise might not walk may decide to walk for the fun (or their parents decide it is okay now with safety concerns no longer an issue) and that would help the health of those children.

This is clearly a positive, no need to look for negatives.

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workinghard 3 years, 3 months ago

I bet they don't make stops at the service station for snacks or in my case it was Joe's Bakery.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

The walking school bus costs way less than the USD 497 motorized bus service.

The USD 497 bus service is costing we taxpayers $4-$4.5 million. That seems like we need to shop around and/or allow children to attend schools closer to their neighborhoods.

Then put this money into academics and teachers.

The walking bus is a bargain....

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Centerville 3 years, 3 months ago

You think they're actually going to reduce an expenditure because it's no longer needed? Haha.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 3 months ago

Almost a non-existant 'carbon footprint'....if everyone were required to remain silent (breathing slowly) the whole thing would leave a mere trace of c02. (No beans allowed for lunch = methane.)

Excellent.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Let us hope these kids don't walk through clouds of toxic fumes emitted by internal combustion lawn mowers.

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Kat Christian 3 years, 3 months ago

Why should this cost $1500? Who was the lucky one to get this easy money? They act like walking to school has never been done before. When I was a kid I walked a good 5 miles+ to my elementary school and had to cross a busy street rain or shine. We didn't have a 2 car family back then. There were no street lights with pedestran buttons on them and I don't every recall anyone getting hit by a car or abducted. Kids today have wayyyyyyyy to easy.

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Christine Anderson 3 years, 3 months ago

That's all true, sunshine. But...we don't live in as "safe" a time as when we were kids. I walked too, during the years my family lived in town. Heck, I walked when the windchill was minus15. Granted, we had the proper protective clothing up there-can't even buy it down here. Anyway, I'm glad these children have a safe way to walk to school. It is better than sitting. And speaking as a person who did get hit by a car when I was 9, I am glad they are supervised. We have some crazy drivers out there who just don't care.

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