With each passing morning growing a bit warmer and lighter, students, families and teachers from Los Amigos Technology Academy are gearing up to greet the Springtime together with some Walking ‘N Rolling in their community. Thanks to the generous support from Children’s Fitness Fund, a grant program of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, students who bike, walk, and scoot to school this semester can rack up all those foot-miles and earn fun prizes like water bottles, sports balls, and bike gear as encouragement for their on-going efforts.
Los Amigos Tech Academy has been paving the way, demonstrating how schools can make walking and biking to/from school a viable, attractive, and enjoyable option for their students and families. With a total enrollment of about 700 students, on a normal day, half of all students are driven to school and the other half take school buses. It is by organizing adult-supervised walking and biking routes that EVERY FRIDAY nearly 350 Los Amigos students experience their commute to school outside of a vehicle, getting their little feet and bodies moving, while connecting with their friends, teachers, and neighbors. On average, students can get one-fourth of their recommended daily physical activity simply by walking to school, and this is certainly true for Los Amigos students who walk nearly two miles and bike up to three miles to school on Fridays.
The school is always generating creative ways to maintain the enthusiasm of teachers, students and parents who participate in Walk ‘N Roll, as well as to encourage new comers to the initiative. Students collect “toe tokens,” colorful charms in the shape of feet and bicycles on chain necklaces which demonstrates the number of Walk ‘N Rolls each student has participated in. This has been a visible way to entice new students to join in on the fun. The school is eager to amp up the enthusiasm for biking and walking with these additional grant funds and to provide some extra motivation for students.
Los Amigos’ Walk ‘N Roll initiative is supported by Safe Routes to School Tucson, a program of Living Streets Alliance in partnership with the City of Tucson. If you’re curious to know more about how to start a similar initiative at your own child’s school, check out the Safe Routes to School Tucson website for resources and tips.