Getting students and families excited about walking and rolling to school is a challenge but TransForm’s Safe Routes to Schools team is more than up to the task! The secrets to our success? Creative thinking, collaboration, and strong connections to school communities.
A recent team retreat gave our volunteers and staff the chance to relax in the sunshine, regroup, celebrate last year’s wins, and talk about plans for the school year ahead. Here are our reflections:
Jennifer Ledet, Program Co-Director
Growing into the role of Co-Director after being a Site Coordinator was a challenge for me that took trust, relationship building, and a lot of learning and accepting that things wouldn’t be perfect. I’m looking forward to working with new schools in a greater capacity under our equity program. It’s a great opportunity to find new ways to reach these school communities.
Stephanie Jim, Program Co-Director
Developing partnerships with other organizations has been great, especially to see the different ways they approach the work and to leverage the resources we all bring. Safe Routes to Schools is evolving, and I’m excited to build on what we’ve established to create a program to meet the ever-changing needs of our school communities. Partnering with other organizations will be a big part of that.
Emilio Elenes, Site Coordinator
We made so much progress with Newark Unified School District this year. They really got involved with our big events, and I was thrilled Mayor Alan Nagy accepted my invitation to participate at Coyote Hills Elementary’s Bike to School Day in May. I’m excited to strengthen the relationships I built last year with parents, teachers, and community volunteers. Those connections make my work so rewarding.
Sheila Islam, Elementary/Middle School Program Manager
I’m really proud of the relationships I’ve developed with district and local government staff. As I take on more leadership responsibilities and move into the Program Manager role, I look forward to supporting our team and building up their confidence to see the best in themselves. There are also opportunities to collaborate on different TransForm projects outside of my Safe Routes work.
Michele Walker, High School Program Manager
Building student participation at the high schools has been great. Students hosted International Walk and Roll to School Day, Reboot Your Commute, Bike to School Day, and BikeMobile visits. They also expanded their community reach by volunteering with elementary school students. It was great helping students find ways to get the most out of their volunteer experience with Safe Routes. Next year, I’ll be working with even more high school communities.
Mario Valadez, Site Coordinator
Bike to School Day was the first time I co-led a big event. It went really well, and we got a lot of positive feedback from both our team and the schools. I’m building on what I learned from that to support more school communities with ongoing events and thinking creatively about how to encourage more students and families to walk and roll to school.
Jasmine Law, Site Coordinator
Organizing the Alameda Bike Festival was a big challenge that became a huge success! I had never organized an event at that scale, and there were so many components, from promotion to logistics. I learned a lot collaborating with Alameda planners and community volunteers that will make the next Bike Festival even better. I’m already starting to think about creative ways to get even more students and families participating in Safe Routes events and building new partnerships to expand our reach.
The Alameda County Safe Routes to Schools Program is a program of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (alamedactc.org) and is funded with Alameda County’s local Measure BB sales tax, and regional, state, and federal funds.