Celebrating International Walk/Bike to School Day 2020

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Celebrating International Walk/Bike to School Day 2020

Left to right: Broward Elementary School students finished their walking parade to school with prize bags donated by St. Joseph’s Children’s Health & Safety Center; Some students arrive on foot and some arrive on bike at Summerfield Crossings Elementary; Pride Elementary School students walking and biking through a beautiful sunrise were rewarded with some neon sunglasses, donated by AdventHealth Tampa.

By Emily Hinsdale, president of Sidewalk Stompers, Inc. a nonprofit promoting walking and bicycling to school.

How do you celebrate International Walk/Bike to School Day during a pandemic? With enthusiasm!

Students from all over Hillsborough County School District participated in this year’s event on Wednesday, October 7. For some, this meant walking or biking to school. For others, this meant walking or biking around their neighborhoods before settling in for a day of eLearning. For all who joined in, it meant starting the day with healthy activity to get bodies and minds ready for school.

Walk to School Day launched in the United States in 1997 and Tampa-area participation in has increased over the past years. Celebrating this annual event helps draw the community’s attention to the importance of making safe and active transportation not just an option but a priority for the community’s next generation.

Sidewalk Stompers partnered with schools around Hillsborough County this year to make the day a big event for student walkers and bikers:

  • Mayor Jane Castor celebrated Walk to School Day sharing a video of her own walk to school! She and a group of Tampa students (and her dog Desa) demonstrated how much fun a daily walk can be while also sharing some pedestrian safety tips. [https://youtu.be/ptqCIyLj8Ag]
  • School Board Member Stacy Hahn walked to Mitchell Elementary School and shared a video highlighting challenges student pedestrians face crossing a five-lane road on their route.
  • Students at Summerfield Crossings Elementary School created their own Walk to School Day video, with some help from their favorite crossing guard, Mr. Willie, who has been helping students get to school safely since the school opened.
  • Mabry Elementary School PTSA chose to make the event a day of advocacy. They focused on a risky crossing for their student walkers and bikers and created a video of their suggested improvements. The follow up? The City of Tampa has installed a Crosswalks to Classrooms mural at this location and plans other improvements.
  • Broward Elementary School students prepared for the event by reading books about the benefits of walking to school and then celebrated with a Walk to School Day parade.
  • Roosevelt Elementary School students got a visit from School Superintendent Addison Davis, who cheered on students receiving prizes for their walk/bike trip to school.

Sidewalk Stompers hopes this year’s successful International Walk/Bike to School Day will encourage more families to make walking and biking to school a daily event, enjoying the health, freedom, and fun of an active start to the day.

Sidewalk Stompers, Inc. is a Tampa-based non-profit dedicated to improving student health and safety by increasing the number of student pedestrians through school-based incentive programs, community building, and road safety advocacy.

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