The weather was picture-perfect for Jackson Park Elementary's second annual Family Walk to School Day, held on Tuesday, October 8th. Nearly 200 kids and adults participated in this year's event, sponsored by the Jackson Park PTO. The purpose of the event, says PTO Treasurer and event chair Joycelyn Barnes, "is to get the community walking, biking, skipping to school and leading a more healthy lifestyle." In addition to the health benefits it's also great for community building, as participants have a chance to get to know their neighbors and other JP families.
The PTO partnered with Trailnet to design safe walking routes where volunteers waited at each stop to escort a group of kids to school. "Trailnet works with parents, schools, and administrators as well as other non-profits to organize these events in order to get parents and kids out walking to school for exercise and fun" says Trailnet School Specialist Cynthia Cantrell.
Trailnet works with 13 school districts in the greater St. Louis area and holds between eight and ten Walk to School Days each spring and fall. Trailnet received a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to work with both Jackson Park Elementary and Flynn Park Elementary to promote pedestrian and bicycle education and safety.
Once the walkers made it to school they were treated to coffee and bagels for the adults, and Cheerios for the kids. The Scholastic Book Fair was open in the gym as well. At the Trailnet tables kids received a bike safety coloring book, an "I Walked to School Today" sticker and a key chain.
Organizers hope to grow this event in years to come, including finding a way to involve JP's bus riders as well. Flynn Park Elementary will hold their event in the spring.
Thank you to Sarah Holahan for the photos.