Evren Sonmez, one of our Program Managers, has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship by America Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities.
The Fellowship will enable Evren and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable. “We are delighted to welcome Evren Sonmez as a member of our inaugural Walking College class,” said Ian Thomas, State and Local Program Director with America Walks, “This program was developed in response to the finding, from our recent survey of 532 local walking organizations, that access to technical assistance and a national peer network are among the most pressing needs for these groups.”
Evren will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer, followed by a two-month independent study project in Tucson, and then attend the National Walking Summit in Washington, DC at the end of October. She is thrilled to be selected as one of the Walking College Fellows and says, “ This program will provide valuable tools and fresh perspectives to help us advance our work to make Tucson a place where people of all ages and abilities can get around on foot and experience walking as a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable activity integrated into their everyday lives.”
The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents. Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers. At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a Community Action Plan for implementation over the following 12-months.
About The Walking College: The Walking College is supported with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative. Mentoring will be provided by a dozen national leaders in the field, including representatives of AARP, the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, and the Alliance for Biking and Walking. More information is available at this link.
About America Walks: America Walks is the only national organization devoted exclusively to making America a great place to walk. America Walks consists of a network of more than 700 partner and allied organizations, working to increase walking and create more safe, accessible and inclusive places to walk. Programs include on-line technical assistance, community-based workshops, convenings such as the National Walking Summit, federal advocacy initiatives, and increasing financial resources for local action. America Walks also maintains the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, a national partnership focused on increasing the visibility of walking and cultivating consumer demand for more walkable places.