We caught up with one group of kids, parents and grandparents. Most of the kids had no idea what the push was all about.
"I like walking to school, but I have no idea," said one.
"It's fun," said another.
PTA Representative Jenny Culver, a mom to one of the kids we talked to, spoke on one of the goals.
"Last year Mississippi had one of the largest numbers of students who walked to school and we're hoping to repeat that this year," she said.
Our report on Walk to School Day:
Mississippi is taking heat as the most obese state in the nation, and state agencies have started observing initiatives like Walk to School Day as ways to fight the fat. Another event happened this week with Farm to School week.
While most of the students we talked with don't normally walk to school, MDOT and others were waiting on them when they got to school to let them and their parents know why they might want to consider making a part of their daily routine.
The rest of MDOT's info on WALK to School Day:
Since MDOT became involved with International Walk to School Month back in 2006, the total number of events held in Mississippi has increased from 5 in 2006 to 150 in 2011. Every October, MDOT works with schools, parents and local officials to stage Walk to School events in their community. These events increase awareness of the safe routes that parents and children can travel during their morning commute and also promotes a healthy alternative to motorized transportation. More importantly, it’s fun and gives families a chance to try out walking to school together.
Important factors of Walk to School Events:
- Look for routes that provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehiclesTeach children to cross streets at marked crossings or 4-way stop conditions when possible
- Use the opportunity to teach pedestrian safety skills in the school and communities
- Ask local police to slow traffic in neighborhoods and near school
The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) participation in the Walk to School Day event is to bring attention to the Safe Routes to School Program. The program is a promotion of bicycling and walking to school and provides an opportunity to address safety. Due to their dedication to safety, MDOT works with communities to improve the infrastructure around schools to make it safer for kids and their families to actively commute to school and to create awareness of the benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school.
Encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age is vitally important, according to Cookie Leffler, Safe Routes to School Coordinator. “The Safe Routes to School Program also facilitates the planning, development and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and middle schools (grades K-8),” she said.
Other organizations supporting International Walk to School Month in Mississippi are the Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi State Department of Health, Bike Walk Mississippi, the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, the Mississippi Network of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and My Brother’s Keeper.
For additional information about International Walk to School Month or the Safe Routes to School program, visit www.healthyms.com/walktoschool or contact MDOT’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Cookie Leffler at 601-359-1454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.