Walk to school - safely

Jane Fellman of Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula greets students and parents during Walk Your Child to School Day Tuesday in Soldotna.

On a very chilly Tuesday morning parents gathered with their children to participate in this year’s Walk Your Child to School Day. Students from Redoubt Elementary, Soldotna Montessori, and Soldotna Elementary gathered at the Catholic Church on Fireweed and Redoubt at 8 a.m. to have their parents walk them to school.

 

In addition to the parents, the students were also escorted by the local school district, Soldotna police and fire departments, and city officials. Volunteers with Safe Kids handed out bright green reflective backpacks and tags to each of the students. Before they left the church Safe Kids discussed the importance of safety, and being seen when traveling to school especially during the upcoming winter months.

“Our hope is for the kids to wear the reflective backpacks or tags every day and not just for the event,” said Sharon Hale, coordinator for the event. “I love this event. I am thrilled to watch everyone walking together and to have such great support from the community.”

The group left the church at 8:15 to walk to their designated schools. Redoubt Elementary had snacks set up for the students and parents in the cafeteria following the event. The PTA donated all of the snacks for this event, and the volunteers to serve the snacks.

This event is organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America; walk to school day began in 1997 as a one-day event to raise awareness for the need of walkable communities. About 15 years ago, Jane Fellman from Safe Kids and other community members started this event locally to encourage a healthy lifestyle and safety during the winter months when commuting to school.

“I have been coordinating with the Redoubt side since we started, and the entire event (along with Jane and Safe Kids) for about 10 years,” said Hale. “It would never happen without the support of the three principals.”

Growing interest in the event has spread all over the world leading the International Walk to School Committee to promote Walk to School Month for the entire month of October. The local community holds their event in September on account of the weather.

Safety Tips:

■ Wearing light colors and some kind of reflector or reflective clothing so drivers can see you.

■ Stay alert, watch for cars and moose (caribou, etc.).

■ Walk on the sidewalks and cross the street at the crosswalks or lights.

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