Thanks to the Southern Arizona Roadrunners (SAR), students at Los Amigos Technology Academy are kicking off their third year of Walk ‘N Roll Fridays with a bang! Last Friday, nearly 240 students and their families accompanied Councilman Richard Fimbres on their walk and bike to school. The turn out was tremendous as it also marks Los Amigos third year as a Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) focus school. The $500 award from SAR’s Children’s Fitness Fund will amplify the enthusiasm of “Walk ‘N Roll” Fridays so that students can have fun incentives like stickers and toe tokens to recognize them for their efforts.
For the last two years, every Friday anywhere from 100-150 (and sometimes more!) students could be spotted walking, jogging, and biking to school together along Drexel Road with the help of 15-20 teachers and parents who supervise five different routes that are one to two miles and connect students from their neighborhood to the school. Since the rest of the week students mostly arrive on the school bus, “Walk ‘N Roll” Fridays has given students a unique opportunity to experience foot-powered travel. Students love “Walk ‘N Roll” because it gives them a chance to get their bodies moving while spending quality time with friends before the school day starts. Teachers find their students are much more alert and ready to learn. Parents have enjoyed participating and report that it is the perfect way to exercise and connect with other parents.
The success of the program is also dependent on parent participation as a way to build community within the school and neighborhood. With this in mind, funds will be used to support parents’ participation as walking/biking leaders and to purchase gift cards as a way to thank these hard working parents for their support.
Interested in starting a similar initiative at your school? Make sure to visit www.saferoutestucson.org for more resources.