International Walk to School Day set for Oct. 3

Long line of children walking down Rio Rico towards school

International Walk to School Day is tomorrow!

Before you drive your kids to school tomorrow, why not consider a different way to get them to class in the morning?

Maybe walking or riding a bike to school might be a good option? Not only would your children be getting some extra exercise, but they’d be joining students across the world, who will be participating in International Walk to School Day!

That’s right … tomorrow is a day devoted to encouraging children of all ages to walk or ride a bike to school in order to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

ADOT and the Arizona Department of Health Services are urging families, schools and communities to participate in Walk to School Day. This year, more than 160 schools and nearly 50,000 students will participate statewide. Globally, more than 40 countries will take part in this annual event, which first began in 1997. The goal is to get kids excited about walking or bicycling to school regularly and getting their daily exercise.

“Walk to School Day is a fun and easy way for kids to get their physical activity and for families to connect with their neighborhoods,” said Brian Fellows, ADOT’s Safe Routes to School program coordinator. “Walk to School Day has been so successful in the United States and internationally because it’s so simple to do. And as schools balance the demands of a busy academic day, walking to school makes so much sense to keep kids active.”

Safe Routes to School
In order for kids to be able to walk and bicycle to school, they need to have safe facilities, such as sidewalks and safe crossings. As part of a federal program, ADOT’s Safe Routes to School program provides grant funding to communities so they can construct these facilities, hold their own events and start their own Safe Routes to School programs. (You can read more about Safe Routes to School HERE and HERE. Oh, you’ll also want to check out this video to learn what a “walking school bus” is!)

Many schools around Arizona are coordinating their own Walk to School Day events this year by using federal funds they received through ADOT’s Safe Routes to School grant program. Since its first grant cycle in 2007, ADOT has provided more than $15 million to schools and communities statewide for infrastructure projects and creative and educational programs. Schools, school districts, municipalities, tribal communities and nonprofit organizations are all eligible to apply for reimbursement grants, which are administered by ADOT.