Wake Forest University program helps children safely walk to school
September 28, 2007
On International Walk to School Day, Oct. 3, Wake Forest University students will monitor sidewalks and crosswalks leading to Whitaker Elementary School. International Walk to School Day will be celebrated as part of “Whitaker Walks on Wednesdays,” a program created in association with an environment and health class taught by Gary Miller, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest. The program began in the spring with approximately 25 children and is continuing this fall with the ongoing participation of Miller’s students.
Miller says “the goal is to try to be healthy by increasing their activity, and also to help the environment by decreasing gas consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.” He says idling cars waiting to drop off or pick up students causes high pollution around schools.
With a $700 grant from the Wake Forest Pro Humanitate program, Miller purchased several pedometers which are rotated among the children so they can track their mileage. Students receive further encouragement with stickers and small prizes for their participation. Students who live too far away to walk to school can still participate in activities during recess and short exercise breaks during the day.
Whitaker Elementary is incorporating educational activities as part of the program: students work on math problems to calculate how far they have walked, and learn North Carolina geography by using a state map to mark down how many miles they have walked. Their goal is to walk enough miles to cross the state.
Reporters are invited to talk with Wake Forest volunteers, Whitaker students and their parents as they walk to school Oct. 3 between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Miller and Assistant Principal Susie Seats are also available for comment. Contact Audrey Fannin for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-758-4393.