Locals spotlight safe routes
Tami Jo Nix/The Madera Tribune Motorcycle traffic officer Warren Webb of the Madera Police Department leads a group of Sierra Vista School students on a walk to school during International Walk to School Day.
Creating a safe environment for children on their way to school brought parents, teachers and community leaders to an early morning rally at McNally Memorial Park last week.
In the predawn hours on Oct. 5 approximately 170 children grades kindergarten through 6 from Sierra Vista Elementary School gathered at 6:45 a.m. in McNally Memorial Park to walk to school together, celebrating International Walk to School Day.
Sierra Vista Principal Kathleen Nekumanesh led her students in the three-block procession. Agencies staging the event included Madera Unified School District, police department, city council, county public health department and the board of supervisors.
Councilman Donald Holley, Supervisor Max Rodriguez and police officers Robert Hill and Warren Webb were in attendance. They joined the students on their invigorating walk to school. Webb, a traffic officer, proceeded the march on his motorcycle.
Participants enjoyed a healthy breakfast of fruit, granola bars, infused water and milk provided by the health department and MUSD, according to program director Alan Gilmore.
Walk to School Day event highlights the community’s need to create safe walking and bicycling routes to school. It emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and concern for the environment. The event builds connections between families, schools and the community.
The health department believes the absence of safe, walkable communities are a leading cause of physical inactivity and the health risks it creates.