Walking School Bus Finale

After three years of operating, the New York Elementary Walking School Bus has completed its final semester. The program has been a great success with thirty-one students participating this year alone. “Bus drivers”, consisting of volunteers from the community, the University of Kansas and United Way’s AmeriCorp program and staff from New York Elementary and the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, assured that students safely walked the 1.5 mile route between New York Elementary and Edgewood Homes. Despite the prolonged winter, the Walking School Bus operated 64 days this year with an average of 8 students walking per day. The students alone walked a total distance of 700 miles. That is one and a half times the length of the entire state of Kansas.

These students should be applauded for their commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle. At a celebration on Tuesday, May 21st, students were presented with a certificate of participation and a few prizes for a job well done. Members of Walk Kansas and the Lawrence Fire and Medical Department joined staffs from New York Elementary and the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority to present the awards. Each student received eight issues of the Walk Kansas Kids newsletter. Each newsletter has healthy information, activities and recipes the whole family can enjoy. We hope it will encourage students to continue walking and being active throughout the summer. Each student also received a ZOMBIE water bottle and dog tag courtesy of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority and Douglas County Housing, Inc. After the presentation, students enjoyed a healthy snack before walking home with staff and recruits from the Lawrence Fire and Medical Department. Susan Johnson of Walk Kansas had this to say about the program, "The partnership between New York Elementary School and the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority to offer a Walking School Bus to younger students is an excellent example of the community working together to promote health and wellness. Not only does it help children achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day, it also fosters a sense of teamwork and friendship. In addition, the Walking School Bus provides children the opportunity to learn about their own neighborhood, traffic safety as well as gain responsibility and a sense of independence."

Individual miles walked by these students were quite impressive. Twenty six of the thirty one participants walked more than ten miles throughout the school year. Six students walked more than twenty miles, two students walked more than thirty, four students walked more than forty, one student walked sixty miles and the participant logging the most miles was a New York Elementary kindergartner who walked a total of eighty-one miles.

We hope these students continue their healthy habits and encourage their peers to do so as well.

Tagged: community, education, youth, health


Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 4 months ago

This is a superb idea, a great article and great photographs. All power to these young people.

We also need to have the writers of this article acknowledged, as well as the person(s) who took the excellent photographs.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 4 months ago

The story omits other important information.

Why is the final year? Is there money involved? How? For what? If it is so effective, why is this program ending?

dgcochip 5 years, 4 months ago

It's great to see that the students had an opportunity to get some exercise in a safe manner to and from school with the walking school bus! Thanks to all who volunteered to help. I hope it's able to continue next school year.

Marilyn Hull 5 years, 4 months ago

I too am curious to know why the program is ending.

Karrey Britt 5 years, 4 months ago

What an awesome partnership and kudos to these students. I certainly hope this is NOT the end of this program. What can we do to help?

Chris Lempa 5 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to thank everyone who has supported the New York Elementary Walking School Bus over the years. This program has been a great partnership between New York Elementary, Douglas County Housing, Inc., the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, LiveWell Lawrence, the Douglas County Community Foundation, and the greater Lawrence community.

A number of people have asked why the program is ending. We have made this decision because the situation at New York Elementary has changed. For that past three years NYE students who participated in the Boys and Girls Club were bused to East Heights to participate in after school programming. A good number of the Walking School Bus participants were part of this group.

Next year the Boys and Girls Club is moving its program back to NYE. This will allow them to accept more students. This is great for NYE families, but it will also greatly lessen the number of students who will be walking on our designated bus route.

With that being said, Douglas County Housing, Inc will continue to work with NYE to make sure that this is the right decision. If there is still a need for it we will work with the school and community to reintroduce the program in a manner that best fits the New York community.

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