Harrisonburg, Rockingham celebrate International Walk to School Week

Twelve area schools will join others from around the world Oct. 1-5 to celebrate International Walk to School Week.

Students from Waterman, Keister, Spotswood, Stone Spring, Cub Run, Ottobine, South River, John C. Myers and Pleasant Valley Elementary Schools; Thomas Harrison and Skyline Middle Schools; and Turner Ashby High School will be walking and rolling to school during the first week of October along with parents, teachers and community leaders.

Each school has a designated day to walk during the week, but Waterman Elementary School students will walk each day. The events will begin about 8 a.m. Some schools are not considered safe to walk to, so children will be given extra time to walk the track after arriving by bus to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Select schools will be receiving $1,000 mini grants from Prevention Connections, the philanthropic arm of Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, to jump start their 2012 Walk to School event. Recipients include: Thomas Harrison and Skyline Middle Schools and Ottobine, John C. Myers, Pleasant Valley, Stone Spring, Spotswood and Cub Run Elementary Schools. Funds will purchase items to implement walking and biking activities at the school, encourage year round walking/biking to school, or to help with costs associated with the Walk to School day event.

“I am happy to support Cub Run [Elementary School’s] Walk to School Day by participating through my own walk from home to school,” said Kenny Boyers, Cub Run principal.  “I have always enjoyed hiking and walking. When I lived in China 25 years ago, I walked and biked just about everywhere I went, and I could easily walk five or more miles each day. I continue to enjoy the benefits of relaxation and good health that walking provides.”

The Central Shenandoah Valley Safe Kids Coalition, led by Wanda Willis, is coordinating extra safety measures during the week. Police and Fire Department personnel will be on hand to ensure walkers and bikers are safe and traffic is controlled.



In 2011, International Walk to School Day was celebrated at more than 4,000 events at schools across the United States, along with children and adults in 40 different countries. Walk to School Day events raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment.

For additional local information, please contact Becky Johnston, RMH Community Health at (540) 564-7388 or (540) 810-2005.

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