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Elementary schools across Pima County, Arizona (36.4% Latino), like Los Amigos Technology Academy, are encouraging a culture of health and physical activity through walking school buses.
In their first year as a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) focus school, Los Amigos teachers and parents developed a Fitness Friday initiative with a bike train and five walking routes that meet to create one large walking school bus. With Living Streets Alliance, they also started a bike repair clinic to teach students basic bike maintenance skills.
Over 100 students participate in each Fitness Friday, and over 300 students and local organizations and agencies joined the annual WALKtober challenge to encourage more kids and families to walk or bike to school.
“Even with the rough, rocky sides of the road, dusty, overgrown sidewalks, and high traffic zone, the students, staff, and parents still walk to show their dedication to their health and the need for easier and safer access for a simple daily walking or biking commute to school.”
In fact, bike and pedestrian projects create 46% more jobs than road only projects. However, there are “silent” barriers to biking in communities of color which need to be addressed by residents and law enforcement together.
If you are interested in starting a walking school bus in your school, STRS provides a toolkit to get you started.