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Meet one of Tampa Bay’s youngest walking advocates

Mikey holds a "Tiger Crossing" sign to remind everyone about crossing streets safely.

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

Mikey is 10 and walks a quick quarter mile to school everyday. “It lets me have quality time with my family and I can exercise,” said Mikey. He walks with his parents and sister (who will be joining him in elementary school this year) and likes having the time to talk with his family even if it necessitates getting up and going a little earlier than a car ride! Mikey uses sidewalks whenever possible on his route to school, although his own street does not have any. He has to cross one busy road on his route, but says that experience feels safer since his school got a crossing guard at the location during the past school year.

How can his city and community better support Mikey in choosing a healthy route to school? “Adding sidewalks to streets that don’t have them and fixing the street and sidewalks so I don’t have to walk in the middle of the street after a rainstorm,” he says.

What would Mikey say to convince friends to walk with him? “It is better than sitting in the car line and it’s good bonding time and it gets me ready and awake for the day.”

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