The New York Elementary Walking School Bus rolls through another great semester in stride! Now in its second year, the “bus” has continued to develop and this fall changed its route to better utilize East Lawrence’s Burroughs Creek Trail as a safe route home for students. The 1.5 mile route begins at New York Elementary and incorporates several “bus stops”, including Boys and Girls Club at East Heights, before ending at Edgewood Homes.
On Friday, November 30th, during a Character Counts assembly at New York Elementary, students were recognized for their hard work and persistence. Seventy five percent of participants walked at least ten miles throughout the semester with two students walking more than twenty, two more than thirty, and three students reaching over forty miles walked. Nearly thirty students participated in the Walking School Bus this semester with an average of fourteen students walking daily. Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this program and invested in a healthier future!
The “Walking School Bus” was created in 2011 by a partnership between New York Elementary, Douglas County Housing, Inc. and the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority. With a generous grant from the Live Well Lawrence Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation, students and their families have been offered a fun and healthier alternative to motorized transportation. This program provides physical activity, encourages healthy lifestyles, and gives children a time to socialize with friends. After four semesters and with the help of the community, the New York Elementary Walking School Bus has been a great success! “The walking school bus builds on New York Elementary's belief in neighborhood schools. When kids walk home together, students from different grade levels a have a chance to be together and build lasting friendships,” said New York Elementary principal, Nancy DeGarmo. “I've walked with the walking school bus and love interacting with the kids and seeing them in a totally different environment. The kids have fun walking and so do the adults.” This semester the Walking School Bus was provided four days a week with some students walking nearly every day!
Volunteers continue to be of the utmost importance to this program. This semester, staff from Douglas County Housing, Inc. and New York Elementary as well as volunteers from United Way’s AmeriCorps program, several sororities at the University of Kansas and members of the community came together to safely walk students home. The staff at Douglas County Housing, Inc. and New York Elementary would like to thank these volunteers for their hours of commitment to making this program a success!
The Walking School Bus is in need of volunteers and community partnerships to help ensure the sustainability of the program. If you or your organization is interested in becoming a volunteer bus driver or helping with our program, please contact Mary Orem at email@example.com or by calling 331-4418.