October 5 wasn’t just any old Wednesday in Alameda County. At over 140 elementary, middle, and high schools in the Safe Routes to Schools program it was a memorable morning of smiling faces, colorful pencils, music, and high fives to celebrate the families, students, and staff who walked, biked, scooted or skated to school for International Walk & Roll to School Day.
Bridges Academy in Oakland took it up a notch by using the annual event as a springboard to bring together local community organizations providing valuable resources to families. According to Bernedette Zermeno, a Safe Routes volunteer at Bridges, the goal of the day is not just to “promote more children walking or riding to school, but also empowering our community to make healthy choices in their everyday lives.”
That’s why Bernedette invited organizations such as the Literacy Lab, Clinica de la Raza, Children’s Hospital, Oakland Promise, and Harvest of the Month to Bridge’s 2nd Annual International Walk and Roll to School Day. Bernadette says: "Our event… not only host[s] partners that will support the health and physical development of our community, but also our academic health.” An Oakland librarian and a representative from Talk Sing and Read also attended the event to cultivate early literacy skills in all home languages.
Children and families around the county walked to school in groups with a “walking school bus”, started their day with a dance party, or got to fill their tires up for the ride home thanks to handy bike pumps at bike racks. By the end of day, of the 92 schools that reported their numbers of walkers and rollers, there was a total of 20,081 students who walked, rolled, rode transit or carpooled to school. Not a bad way to kick off the school year!